Admissions begin for Southern Medical Program

The doors to UBC’s new Southern Medical Program (SMP) are opening. The 2011 MD Undergraduate Program admissions cycle opened June 1, and will admit the first class of SMP students in May 2011.

The Southern Medical Program is the fourth site in the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Undergraduate program, which has more than doubled the number of students and distributed their training throughout the province to produce the next generation of physicians for B.C.

“The program offers 32 seats to incoming students, who will complete their first four months of training in Vancouver before moving to their new home in the Interior,” says Dr. Allan Jones, Regional Associate Dean, Southern Medical Program.

Two new buildings in Kelowna will be ready to greet them. Construction of the Health Sciences Centre, a $28-million, 4,266-square-metre building at UBC’s Okanagan campus is on schedule, and will serve as the home of the program with high-tech classrooms, research and teaching laboratories, problem-based learning rooms and faculty and administrative offices.

The clinical teaching facility at Kelowna General Hospital officially opened in January. Part of the $37.6-million expansion of KGH, the building boasts a 180-seat lecture theatre, library, clinical skills rooms, administrative offices, and innovative video conferencing technology linking the program with other UBC Faculty of Medicine students in the North, on Vancouver Island, and in the Vancouver-Fraser region.

Students will spend their first two years at UBC’s Okanagan campus and the clinical academic campus at KGH. In their third and fourth years, students will receive clinical education throughout the B.C. Interior, including Kamloops, Vernon, Penticton, Trail, Cranbrook.

The B.C. Medical Association and the B.C. Medical Foundation have created the first endowed student award for the Southern Medical Program. The award, $1,000 per year, will be available to a student enrolled in the Southern Medical Program during any academic year of study, with preference given to those with a record of community service in health care.

The first scholarship will be available for the 2011/2012 winter session. The Dr. Gary Randhawa Memorial Scholarship in Medicine is established in honour of Dr. Gurmeet Singh “Gary” Randhawa, who was a past member of the BCMA Board of Directors and president of the Kelowna Medical Society.

“UBC’s Southern Medical Program will emerge as a major player in both the education of health professionals and also in the pursuit of health research in the province,” says Jones. “The establishment of this first scholarship will contribute to our goals of ensuring highly qualified candidates will continue to have access to medical education, and consequently contribute to the advancement of quality care within our communities — local and global.”