Two physicians have been recruited for the Canora area to join the team of Dr. Victor Obiora, Dr. Seema Ahmed and Lorri Dennis (nurse practitioner.)
Dr. Ali Aryafar began his work at the Canora Health and Wellness Centre on January 21 and Dr. Hamed Tashakkori Niafollowed shortly thereafter on February 8.
Tashakkori Nia was born and raised in the Iranian city of Qom, which had a population of about 300,000 at the time; a mid-sized city in Iran, but larger than any city in Saskatchewan.
He studied medicine in Tehran and then spent about five years as a family physician in the early 1990’s in a rural area of Iran which he said is somewhat similar to Canora, including the snow, but “not quite as cold.”
In 1996, he went back to university and became an ear, nose and throat surgeon. After graduation he spent nine years as a surgeon is in his home town of Qom. But after an elbow injury he lost his ability to do surgery, and went back to family medicine. He eventually recovered and he regained his ability to do surgery, but only in short operations. Since ear surgery, his specialty, normally is at least a four-hour procedure, Tashakkori Nia made the decision to continue in family medicine.
He decided to move to Canada in 2013 because of safety concerns in Iran and also because he and his wife Firouzeh, a gynecologist, felt their children would have a better future in Canada. Their daughter Parastoo is completing her bachelor’s degree in medical biology at the York University in Toronto, and plans to enter medical school. Their son will be entering the University of Saskatchewan in fall to study biochemistry, with the goal of also studying medicine in the future.
Firouzeh still works in Iran, but visits Canada regularly.
Tashakkori Nia completed the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program in 2018, which assesses international physicians who would like to practise medicine in Canada. The program included working in Humboldt, Melville, Yorkton and Saskatoon.
Tashakkori Nia said he still misses his patients in Iran, but is glad to be in Canada.
He said he researched Canora before agreeing to move here and found the research to be accurate for the most part. Unfortunately, his first winter in Canora happened to be its coldest winter in a number of years.
He has wanted to be a doctor just about ever since he can remember, mainly because he enjoys helping people. He is looking forward to providing the best possible medical care to the people of Canora and surrounding area.
Tashakkori Nia finds the people of Canora to be very friendly and is eagerly anticipating his first summer here, even though “I’m a bit apprehensive about mosquitos.”
His hobbies include gardening, cooking and fishing, and he hopes to have the opportunity to try ice fishing next winter.
Dr. Ali Aryafar is also originally from Iran. He studied medicine there and gained 14 years of experience as a family physician.
“As a small child, doctors were my heroes, and in high school I decided to pursue a career in medicine,” said Aryafar.
“I wanted to be useful for the community and help people in need. I enjoy seeing the impact on the patient and feel a sense of fulfilment by helping alleviate pain or discomfort.”
He relocated to Canada in 2016 with his wife Mitra and their son Mehrdad, who is now 8. Mitra and Mehrdad presently live in Vancouver, but will be moving to Canora during the summer.
Aryafar enjoys the friendly people of Canora and the quiet, small town atmosphere. During the coming summer he would like to go fishing and hopes to learn how to play golf. Ice fishing is an activity he would like to try during a future winter.
He said the Canora Health and Wellness Centre has proven to be an enjoyable place to work.
“My goal is to get a good understanding of patients and develop trust with each other,” he said. “Sometimes patients tell things to their doctors that they don’t even tell family members. I strive to always keep learning so I can provide patients with the care they need.”
Aryafar said he has found the Canora facility to be well run and well equipped, with a focus on care and treatment of minor illnesses and minor procedures. The doctors and nurse practitioner travel to primary health care clinics at satellite sites in Invermay and Norquay, as well as on The Key and Cote First Nations. Appointments may be made by phone call to the clinic.
Both new physicians said they were pleased to see that the Canora Health and Wellness Center team collaborates with other practitioners including physiotherapy and public health.
Visiting services available for regular appointments in Canora include: speech therapy, occupational therapy, diabetes educator, acquired brain injury team, respiratory services (Spirometry), and child dental health (fluoride varnish program.) These services are accessible by referral from a physician, nurse practitioner and public health. A dietician is available by self-referral and home care offers nursing care, assessment and homemaking services.