Message from the Executive Director

 

The year 2009 was busy for both staff and board members at AAFACD. In its mission to empower refugees and immigrants to integrate in Minnesota, AAFACD continues to focus on healthcare employment as a key element of integration both socially and economically.

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Through the Foreign Trained Health Professionals (FTHPs) program, AAFACD partners with several other community agencies to support foreign trained healthcare professionals (FTHPs) in Minnesota to obtain their license to practice their profession. Compared to 2008, there has been an increase in the number of physicians who accessed Residency, from one to five. This has been a direct result of the appropriation by the Minnesota state legislature in 2007, which provided scholarships to many physicians to prepare for the licensure exams. Funding from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement has been particularly helpful in supporting new refugees, mainly Iraqis who are a new community of professionals in our program.

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Access to Residency still remains a challenge for many foreign trained physicians in the US. AAFACD continues to take leadership and work with several partners to explore ways to improve access, especially in the rural areas or utilize the physicians in alternative health care professions i.e. Laboratory Technology.

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Hosting of the first national recertification conference in Michigan in June 2009 is testimony to the fact that there is increasing interest in the recertification of new Americans who are professionals. AAFACD will therefore continue to take advantage of the available opportunities, particularly with the current debate on health reform to advocate for policies which promise increased diversity in the health workforce.

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Economic empowerment of new immigrants thorough financial literacy training and higher education are other key program areas AAFACD continues to develop in the community. The immigration program is being expanded at AAFACD and we look forward to more funding and support to expand services in this area.

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AAFACD looks forward to 2010 with optimism for even more partnerships and success in our mission.

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Thank you.

Brenda McGuire, Board of Directors Chairperson, & Burleigh Holder, Executive Director

 

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