At 1:30 p.m. on October 5, Dr. Parveen Kumar saw his first patient as a Kamsack doctor, and the first patient he has seen as a full-fledged doctor in Canada.
“Family practice is my passion,” Kumar said last week, prior to seeing his first patient. “I’m here for the long-term, for the foreseeable future.”
Born and raised in Sirhind, India, a community “in the middle of the Punjab” about 250 km north of New Delhi, Kumar attended the Government Medical College Patiala in Punjab, graduating in 2001 with bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery degrees. Within about a year, when he is fully qualified in Saskatchewan, he will be using the MD (medical doctor) designation.
Kumar and his wife Dilpreet, who were married in 2009, came to B.C. in 2010 and the next year the couple moved to Calgary where she obtained employment as a licenced practical nurse. As she received further training to become a registered nurse, he continued his studies and then began working as a physician’s assistant at a private clinic.
“I’ve worked four or five years as a physician’s assistant in clinics and hospitals,” Kumar said, explaining that he did most of the duties of an MD, with the exception of prescribing drugs, and he had a keen interest in long-term care.
Kumar said his parents were a great support for him and they provided the motivation for him to choose to become a physician. His father is a poultry veterinarian.
Asked why the couple had chosen Canada, Kumar said that his wife has family ties in this country where she has bonds with paternal cousins.
“It’s really nice here in a small town,” he said, adding that both he and his wife had been raised in small towns in India.
He contrasts small town life with Calgary and its “rushing and noise.”
“This is a big change for us,” he said, explaining that he and his wife are on the path to become Canadian citizens. “It feels like home. It’s exciting.
“I like the way people work here and it’s a friendly environment. Everyone knows one another. It makes us believe we’re at home.”
Kumar, who admits to having a passion for cricket, a sport which he still follows, said he also enjoys ice hockey, with the Vancouver Canucks being his favourite team. He also enjoys biking and hiking.
Dilpreet, who was raised on a farm in India, said that she has heard that the summers in Saskatchewan are good for growing things, so she plans to tend a vegetable garden next summer.
Although Parveen, who is now occupying the office in the Assiniboine Valley Health Centre that had previously been occupied by Dr. Emmanuel Ogali, is already living in Kamsack. Dilpreet is still working in Calgary, but plans to join her husband in the near future.