Like generations before us, the medical industry is valued as one of the most important in our community. From the early stages of learning, children are taught about the significant role a doctor has in the community and the different strands of occupations that fall under its categories. From elementary to high school, the sciences are stressed as important subjects which students are encouraged to take. They are introduced to courses related to physics, chemistry, and biology. The importance of these subjects has been stressed significantly, sharing how it reflects the community, its growth and how it can bring change economically and globally. Which then allows students to figure out career options as they step into their undergraduate studies. Although many students explore various career paths that contribute to the medical industry there is still very little awareness about Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device Professionals.
The Pharmaceutical and Medical Device industry is a multi-billion dollar global corporation, making it one of the most influential corporate bodies that contribute to the growth of the economy and the enhancement of medicine and the way it is practiced. Often times people identify the pharmaceutical industry with pharmacists, doctors, dentists, and other health care professionals who they are able to make direct contact with when they become ill. In many of these situations, the health care providers evaluate, diagnose and advise patients to seek medical attention through prescriptions or off the counter drugs. However, the world beyond the drug is never acknowledged nor are the individuals who are responsible for their medical solutions. The community also may not recognize the value, and the significance, of the pharmaceutical and medical device industry and how it contributes to improving the quality of life globally - this is because the industry itself is unknown and is under-represented within our community.
The Tamil Medical Pharmaceutical Association (TMPA); a non-profit organization in Toronto was formed to bring awareness of the Pharmaceutical / Medical Device industry within the Tamil community. Since the birth of the association in 2017 and its launch in 2018, TMPA has made a firm imprint in the community and its perception towards their profession. Many community members who have attended the various events hosted by TMPA such as; TMPA Gala, Networking Mixer and TMPA Seminars have appreciated the amount of dedication put towards educating youth and recent graduates on the wide spectrum of career options that the pharmaceutical and medical device industry can provide. The organization connects students, recent graduates and young professionals with experienced mentors as they attempt to take the first steps in their professional career.
Education, and raising awareness among others on the importance of this particular sector in healthcare is one of the main aspects of founding the organization. TMPA has partnered with the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus providing a scholarship of $2,500, for students entering studies related to pharmaceutical, biotechnology or medical device. In the past, TMPA hosted seminars which reflected on topics that impact the medical industry as a whole. Topics include pharmaceutical manufacturing, clinical research, cannabis use and innovation in biotechnology. By creating positive learning environments for community members, TMPA aims to empower young professionals and guide them through recent changes to the industry by providing them with the opportunities to meet senior professionals. TMPA’s goal is to create forums to exchange dialogues between several different classes of the professionals within the pharmaceutical industry. Dialogues and the necessity to create conversations are essentials when carving a path to success.
Like any industry, the Tamils in pharmaceutics have also had their fair share of obstacles as they set foot early in their careers. Each board member of TMPA endured similar experiences as they hurdled to get to where they are now. Information, resources, and forums to connect with professional was a rarity at the time, making it difficult for young professionals to find proper assistance and guidance to build a stable career. These are one of the few reasons why TMPA aims to practice its motto “Paying it forward” and giving back to the community using a positive approach. They aim to assist, not only current young professionals of the community, but also new immigrants and recent graduates from the homeland as well. Since the inception of the organization, TMPA has assisted a few professionals with settling into their first jobs and facilitating their first professional connections. Although it may seem like a small difference in comparison to the number of professionals seeking assistance in the community, TMPA believes it is the tiny steps to achievement that matter. The professionals that they helped to nurture will help create hundreds of professionals in years to come. This ripple effect will continue to grow and positively enhance the community as it employs and educates future generations.