Across our province, there is an ever-pressing, combined effort by provincial and local governments, BC’s health authorities, and community organizations to support the recruitment and retention of physicians to best serve the health care needs of our province.
Expansion of UBC’s medical school to the BC Interior has increased the annual enrollment of new medical undergraduates provincially to 288 – more than double from 10 years ago. UBC’s postgraduate training programs have steadily grown in tandem with over 1400 medical residents presently engaged in 67 different postgraduate programs offered at more than 100 clinical training sites.
Within the Interior, we excitedly await the launch of two new residency programs for the Faculty of Medicine later this summer. A new Family Medicine residency program in Kamloops welcomes its first six residents as part of the two-year training for family physicians. While, the new five-year Royal College Emergency Medicine residency program based at Kelowna General Hospital accepts its first two residents. Both programs will provide new opportunities for Southern Medical Program students to continue their medical training in the communities in which they have developed roots.
The sheer number of health professionals invested in the education of even one learner is astounding. As such, the constant introduction of new students and residents to our region’s hospitals and clinics must be carefully balanced with the teaching demands placed upon our faculty – whose primary responsibility is excellence in patient care. We are most fortunate to see a continued influx of preceptors join the teaching ranks of the Faculty of Medicine, now surpassing 840 health professionals across the Interior. Their commitment of time and energy is infinitely valued and critical to our program’s success.
We are also witnessing how collaborations with local community, health-related organizations can make lasting and positive impacts on our students. It is through these partnerships that our students gain first-hand knowledge of the important health care issues facing the communities they hope to one day serve. The potential for our program to foster and support educational and research excellence is exceptional.
Allan R. Jones, MD, FRCPC
Regional Associate Dean, Interior, UBC Faculty of Medicine
and Associate Vice-Provost, Medical Sciences, UBC Okanagan campus