From an early age, Dr. Murtaza Amirali had a love of teaching, learning and helping other people.
As he progressed through school, Dr. Amirali explored different professions, searching for a career where he could do it all. He search ended when he discovered family medicine.
Having come with his family to Canada from Kenya at age 10, Amirali grew up in Calgary, and assumed he would remain in the city once becoming a physician.
Following his participation in RPAP-sponsored shadowing—a program where first and second-year medical students observe and learn skills from rural Alberta physicians—his perspective began to change.
“Rural medicine had all the things that I wanted, and it fit my lifestyle I was looking for,” explained Dr. Amirali.
“I found out that the people and the preceptors, and the way the community works, is exactly like the values I was brought up with in Africa. They get to know each other, they’re very neighbourly, [and] we get to see them in the environment they’re working in.”
As a rural family medicine resident with the Rural Alberta South branch of the Alberta Rural Family Medicine Network, Dr. Amirali is able to continue his training at rural sites, further preparing him for rural medical practice.
Dr. Amirali says it’s important to him to get to know patients in the community he lives in. He believes having a personal connection will allow him to make the greatest impact possible.
“You’re not just a doctor, you’re actually a person in the community, a role model: you can actually impact lives,” he added. “It’s people looking out for each other, and that’s the kind of lifestyle I want to live.”
The Alberta Rural Family Medicine Network (ARFMN) is a unique collaborative venture, offered through the Family Medicine departments of the Universities of Alberta and Calgary, and supported and funded by RPAP | Health Workforce for Alberta.
The ARFMN trains up to 60 Family Medicine residents per year in rural and regional community and hospital practices and provides positive exposure to rural community living while the resident physicians are still in training. The Network takes advantage of a rural curriculum and a “network” of rural-based physician teachers and university faculty.