‘A miracle’: Viewer gifts $20,000 so internationally-trained doctors can get certified in B.C.

Two B.C. residents are now one step closer to their dream of practicing specialized medicine in the province thanks to an anonymous benefactor.

Marina Lousararian and Loicel Aguero are both trained specialists in their home countries, Argentina and Venezuela, respectively.

Lousararian is a cardiologist and Aguero is a trained physician with a specialty in internal medicine.

Both came to B.C. for a better life for their families and for more opportunities. But the red tape and the cost of becoming a certified specialist in Canada have proven to be too high.

Both estimated the costs of the tests and paperwork requirements would cost them around $10,000.

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They worked as medical specialists in their countries, but they can’t get certified in B.C.

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After Global News reported on their stories, a man reached out to provide two cheques for $10,000 each.

When Lousararian received her cheque on Friday, she broke down in tears.

“I just can’t believe it,” she said. “This is a miracle.

“I just want to thank this person and all the people who texted and called me.

“I am speechless because I never thought this was going to happen. I never thought that so many people were going through the same situation and I could speak for them also.”

Lousararian said it has been a hard few months because she was starting to realize she was never going to realize her dream of becoming a cardiologist in B.C.

“This is just a miracle,” she said.

“I can assure you that I’m going to take this with all the responsibility and a full commitment and I’m going to do my best to go through this process and pass these exams and reach my dream of saving lives.”

Click to play video: 'Medical specialists struggling to get certified in Canada'

Medical specialists struggling to get certified in Canada

Aguero was at work Friday but Lousararian said she knows he is also eternally grateful to this anonymous person.

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“You know how many times I went to the website and I wanted to upload my certification but I couldn’t,” she said through tears. “It was so frustrating.”

The cost to just upload her documents is $800.

“I want to help people, I want to save lives,” she said. “I was born for that, I really want to do anything that is required to do that.

“This is a miracle.”

Click to play video: 'Doctor says process to get certified in B.C. has taken nearly a decade'

Doctor says process to get certified in B.C. has taken nearly a decade

In a statement the B.C. Ministry of Health said in 2022/23, it committed $2.55 million to support the Practice Ready Assessment BC (PRA-BC) program. In November the government also announced additional measures to help internationally trained physicians to enter B.C.’s workforce.

This included more seats in the PRA-BC program, and specific certification to help U.S.-trained physicians and international medical graduates become certified and then hired in specific clinic settings.

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“We also fund UBC residency positions that are protected for international medical graduates,” the ministry said.

“The IMG-BC program at UBC has expanded substantially from six annual entry positions in 2003 to 58 today. These 58 positions for IMGs and include 52 in family medicine, an area of great need for British Columbians. Since 2006, 427 family physicians and 66 specialists have been placed in 91 communities in B.C. We also fund Health Match BC, a free health professional recruitment service that has helped IMGs and Canadian trained physicians relocate and practice in B.C.”

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