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
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