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UBC Reports | Vol. 46 | No. 20 | December 14, 2000

Injection to boost supply of B.C. doctors, says dean

New funds will expand medical education programs

by Hilary Thomson staff writer

The Faculty of Medicine's annual budget will be augmented by more than $10 million beginning next April with new Ministry of Health funding for medical education. The funds will provide for undergraduate and residency program expansion as well as faculty development.

"We are very pleased with this recognition of the university's role in contributing to the health and well-being of B.C. residents," says UBC President Martha Piper. "B.C. communities have identified a critical need for access to care and we will respond to that need by supplying a knowledgeable health-care workforce."

The new funding is the first phase of a regular program of support and will be used to expand a variety of programs that will strengthen medical education and help supply physicians to B.C.'s northern and rural communities.

"The provincial government has taken an extremely progressive step with this funding," says John Cairns, dean of the Faculty of Medicine. "Revitalizing our clinical education programs and expanding enrolment represents an investment in the future health of the people not only in rural and northern areas but throughout the province. It allows UBC to reaffirm its social contract with the citizens of B.C."

Up to 14 new residency positions focused on health-care needs in northern and rural B.C. will be funded starting next month with an additional 17 positions established in July. A total of 64 more residents will be enrolled in the programs by 2004.

Training will result in an increased annual output of six general internists, four general surgeons, three family practitioners and four additional fully qualified physicians.

Beginning September 2001, undergraduate enrolment will be increased with eight new positions funded annually for students in the undergraduate MD program for each of the four years, resulting in 32 positions.

There will be four new positions funded by 2002 in the international medical graduate program. The program prepares eligible B.C. residents who are graduates of foreign medical schools for licensing in B.C.

Other program features include practical recognition of clinical faculty who train medical residents in 86 affiliated hospitals in the Lower Mainland and throughout B.C. as well as in community practices.

"Our clinical faculty members are key to our past success in clinical education and will be vital for a successful expansion," says Cairns. "This commitment of new resources allows us to address recognition, compensation and support systems for them."

Curriculum development, including continuing medical education programs for doctors in practice, will focus on: community-based and interdisciplinary education; programs such as community geriatrics, aboriginal medicine and rural health that are targeted to specific populations; and research in teaching methods and programs.

Community liaison activities will also be supported as well as evaluation measures that will track the effectiveness of the expanded program.

The newly reinforced program aims to give trainee-physicians in northern and rural area the skills and relationships they need to set up practice and remain in those areas.

The strategy should reduce B.C.'s dependence on other provinces and countries to supply both general practitioners and specialists to B.C. communities, says Cairns.

The residency expansion will start in Prince George, where UBC has its largest northern teaching campus with 630 square metres in Prince George Regional Hospital dedicated to training UBC family practitioners.

The Faculty of Medicine will be holding a series of faculty forums to discuss the expansion plans. For information call 604-822-4303 or check the Web site at www.med.ubc.ca.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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