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Family Moves from Bangladesh to BC for the Opportunities, and the Snow.

Family Moves from Bangladesh to BC for the Opportunities, and the Snow.

June 10, 2016

Dr. Parveen Ali and her husband may hail from a tropical country, but they love fresh snow. It is a good thing they do, because they live in Fort St. John, British Columbia, which gets an average annual snowfall of 183 centimetres.

The couple moved from Bangladesh in 2000, just after Dr. Ali had finished medical school at Sir Salimullah Medical College in the capital city of Dhaka. Her husband, Nakib, landed a job as a banker in Fort St. John. “It was a land of opportunity, so he wanted to come here,” she explained.

Initially, Dr. Ali was reluctant to come, but once the couple arrived, they found a group of friends: “They are like my family members now. So we have no regrets.”

After a year and a half in Canada and the birth of their first child, a son, the couple moved to Vancouver so Dr. Ali could get her degree in pharmacy.

Family Practice

After a few years of working as a pharmacist in Vancouver, Dr. Ali felt the call to practise family medicine again. “It was a bit cumbersome to get residency training in Canada,” she said. She contacted Health Match BC to find out how she could return if she pursued her residency overseas. “They held my hand right away,” she recalled.

Dr. Ali’s son Raeed was six years old when the family moved to Johannesburg for her two-year-long residency. They found South Africa lovely, but wanted to be back in British Columbia.

“We moved back to Fort St. John because this was the north I knew,” Dr. Ali says. She began working as a family physician in the spring of 2012.

She practices at ABC Medical Clinic. “I work with five other physicians there and we are a close-knit medical group,” she said. Her colleagues helped when she was away on a two-month maternity leave after the birth of their second child, a daughter. “They took care of my practice so well that I didn’t even feel that I was away,” she marveled. Her daughter, Raha, is now one year old.

Diverse Practice

Dr. Ali sees patients from 9 am to 5 pm at the clinic. Before her daughter was born, she took shifts in the emergency department, which she enjoyed. She also does some obstetric care. “The practice is phenomenal. It is so diverse, and this is great for a new physician like me,” Dr. Ali enthused. While she is busy, she and her colleagues support each other so everyone can have a family life.

The city’s 55-bed hospital is brand new. Dr. Ali and her colleagues have access to a number of specialists, with others just an hour away in Dawson Creek.

Dr. Ali’s husband is now a teacher so he has the summers off. The family likes to go on picnics on summer days. “The nature is what draws me to BC,” she said.

Dr. Ali reported that her son, now 12, loves that he can ride his bike without worrying about traffic. Dr. Ali raved about the city’s parks, sports facilities and how everything is close by.

She encourages Canadian physicians to try a locum in BC. For those outside of Canada she said: “Come with a goal and it is all achievable. People are here to help you, especially Health Match BC.”

And that fresh snow? Dr. Ali and her family go skiing and get outside as much as they can. “I know some people can be intimidated by the northern winter, but you can make the best of it if you go for outdoor activities.”

Watch Dr. Ali's video profile below: