In 1985 a group of Filipino Canadian physicians met and formed the Filipino Canadian Medical Association.
The goal was to have an organization to enable Filipino physicians to know one another better and to work together with support and understanding.
The organization would serve to represent the practicing Filipino physicians in the community (estimated to be about 50 then), be a forum to identify common needs/experiences, and to enable newly arrived Filipino physicians to integrate into the medical community.
The initial officers of the organization were
Mario Andres (President), Guillermo de Villa (Vice President), Judith Bacalso (Secretary) &
Elrey Vicente (Treasurer).
In its early years, dentists were also included in the FCMA roster, as were allied health personnel.
The first few years were concentrated on having the Filipino physicians form a social network.
Monthly educational meetings were held.
One of the key problems identified by the group was obtaining internship/residency positions for the new arrivals, a requirement for licensure in Canada.
This problem was addressed by a number of practicing FCMA physicians who were involved in training programs in their respective institutions. In addition, practice examinations (both written and oral) and preceptorships were offered to the new physicians to improve the passing rate for the local certification examinations.
As the organization prospered, fund raising to support social causes was included in the group’s activities. Support for projects in the Philippines and in Canada was included in the agenda. Among the initial projects were those of building a well in Pampanga, funding a clinic in Bohol, supporting the “Herbie Fund” for a child undergoing a complex operation at the Hospital for Sick Children.
The traditions of networking, mentoring, continuing medical education and support of various projects continue to be maintained by the organization.