With a growing shortage of health professionals, building the healthcare workforce in order to meet the needs of Minnesotans is more important than ever.
The Bridge to Residency for Immigrant International Doctor Graduates through clinical Experience (BRIIDGE) program is a 9-month program that aims to help international medical graduates develop the skills necessary to become successful residents in the United States medical system. Led out of the Medical School and supported by the Minnesota Department of Health, BRIIDGE participants are taught and mentored by experienced clinicians and educators with faculty outpatient preceptors at clinics across the Twin Cities, including Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC).
“The BRIIDGE program helps integrate international health professionals, both professionally and socially. These are people with specialized knowledge, and it’s important to utilize their expertise. It’s a win-win situation, with the additional benefit that they often speak another language, which improves patient care,” said Daha Gobdoon, M.Ed, education manager at CUHCC.
Prior to clinical rotations, the BRIIDGE participants engage in the Global Health in Local Contexts course offered by the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility, which immerses students in the study of health equity, the social determinants of health, and the practice of global health in a local setting, and community-based healthcare in the Twin Cities.
CUHCC recently completed orientation for a new cohort of doctors: Dadee Saye from Liberia, Melissa Rieger from Chile, Maxim Nikolaevskiy from Russia, and Muhammad Reza Chaudhry from Iran. The BRIIDGE participants will complete their field experience here over the course of the next several months as they prepare applications for residency positions.
CUHCC provides medical care, dental care, mental health care and social service needs for nearly 10,000 patients each year, and educates and trains future health professionals to serve a culturally-ethnically diverse patient population. Located in the Phillips neighborhood in south Minneapolis, CUHCC’s patient population comes from over 12 different racial and ethnic groups that span five continents. The majority of CUHCC’s patients speak languages other than English.
“When I came to the United States, entering into the workforce system was very hard due to the requirement of hands-on clinical experiences. The BRIIDGE program is such an innovative approach to create possibilities for international medical graduates to get clinical experiences, get acquainted with the U.S. healthcare system, and be a part of the ongoing workforce,” said Roli Dwivedi, MD, CUHCC CEO. “We know that there is a huge shortage of primary care providers, especially providers who can serve diverse communities representing different nations, cultures, values and belief systems.”
Dwivedi added, “CUHCC’s mission is transforming care and education to advance health equity, the BRIIDGE program is a perfect example of that. When CUHCC was approached to be a part of BRIIDGE, I was super excited. This is something I wished I could have participated in when I applied for residency, but the opportunity didn’t exist then. Now I can help support this effort. I have been serving as a preceptor for the last few years, and I am so happy every time I get an email from a student that they matched into a residency; it has come full circle for me.”
The BRIIDGE program helps address barriers to practice and facilitate pathways for international medical graduates to integrate into the Minnesota healthcare system, with the goal of increasing access to primary care in rural and underserved areas of the state.