Dr. Vajid Khan is the current Chair of the Muslim Medical Association of Canada, and is a radiologist at St. Joseph Hospital. He is also an Assistant Professor at Western University’s medical school. He grew up in Ottawa, and has trained at Queen’s University, Western University, McMaster University and the University of Toronto. In his spare time, Dr. Khan organizes an annual charity picnic, games day and volleyball tournament called Fungama (www.Fungama.org) with a team of volunteers, strength trains, watches hockey and plays the guitar.
The Muslim Medical Association of Canada (MMAC) was founded in 2007 with the mission to serve God by following the teachings of His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him, “PBUH”) and the Holy Qur’an by uniting Canadian Muslim physicians and being a national advocate for the specific healthcare needs and concerns of Muslim Canadians. MMAC aims to provide unique professional, educational and social services not only to its members, but also to the general public as a whole, and ultimately to contribute to building a healthy and just society. For more information, please visit the website at www.muslimmeds.ca
Q: Thank you for accepting the invitation to this interview, Dr. Khan. Could you outline some of the services and opportunities that MMAC provides?
MMAC hosts seminars on careers in medicine for the Muslim community, to help prepare Muslims applying to medical school and residency. These speakers include physicians, residents and medical students who will guide aspiring future physicians through their Canadian and International medical careers, share their personal experiences and answer any questions.
MMAC also has a mentorship program that connects interested students and community members with Muslim physicians and residents. We have a database of residents, physicians and medical students who have registered to provide mentorship to interested Muslim students. Mentorship plays an important role in developing our members’ medical careers. Our aim is to promote higher education in medicine and healthcare related fields within the Muslim community, by providing individual guidance to those considering a career in medicine.
MMAC also hosts interview workshops for university students and International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who are applying to medical schools and residency positions in Canada. So far, workshops have taken place in Toronto, London and Hamilton. Workshops include didactic sessions and one-on-one mock interview sessions with physicians, who provide feedback and tips on improving interview skills.
Support is also available through MMAC for International Medical Graduates and foreign-trained physicians who often find it challenging to navigate through the system. A Resource Guide has been developed by MMAC members who have successfully gone through the IMG process and matched successfully in Canada.
Lectures through MMAC aim to educate the Muslim community on issues including heart health, diabetes, exercise, mental health, addiction, and other topics of interest to Muslims. These lectures educate the community and provide a forum for discussion in a familiar environment.
Among other services that MMAC provides are free health care clinics, including free blood pressure screening clinics open to Muslim and non- Muslims that are run out of kiosks at Islamic community events, with the intention to promote community health and well-being, while reinforcing positive Muslim roles in Canada. We also contribute to a free Refugee Health Clinic in Mississauga, “The Welcome Medical Clinic”. This clinic is a non-for-profit clinic for refugees without medical insurance and OHIP. It operates solely on donation and volunteer time and energy. They are always welcoming new patients. Their website is www.welcomemedicalclinic.com
Q: Are there plans to expand MMAC activities in futures?
MMAC envisions the implementation of an Islamic Teaching Hospital as a major hospital, possibly in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The aim would be to promote future generations of physicians from an Islamic background and all other religions to practice in a welcoming environment focused on faith and tolerance for all beliefs.
A Muslim Teaching Hospital will provide a platform for Muslims to educate Canadians through their professional contributions, and to give back to the Canadian community as productive members. Canadians will have an opportunity to witness Muslims in practice, and learn about Islamic values.
Currently, Islam is generally not well known in the west, because Muslims are not often seen practicing their beliefs within the larger community. By providing healthcare services to the larger Canadian community in a teaching hospital, MMAC will be able to present Muslim values and beliefs and reinforce a positive portrayal of Muslims, because anyone that knows Islam well knows its beauty.
Q: What are some of the upcoming events organized by MMAC?
There is an annual gala banquet held on New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1st, 2016 and all Muslims and non-Muslims are welcome to attend. The keynote speaker this year is Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, widely regarded as one of the most influential Islamic scholars in the Western world, President and co-founder of Zaytuna College, North America’s first accredited Islamic post-secondary academic institution and author of “Purification of the Heart”. This year, the annual banquet will be held at the Hyatt Regency Toronto downtown, on January 1, 2016 at 6:00 pm. For more information please visit the website at MMAC.yapsody.com where you may also purchase tickets.