Trail Integrated Community Clerkship program expands
The Southern Medical Program’s Integrated Community Clerkship (ICC) program in Trail continues to grow with UBC increasing the number of places available for third-year medical students where they can complete a full-year of clinical training at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and the Trail community.
The ICC program, started in 2011 as part of UBC’s distributed medical education model, is designed to increase the number of medical students completing their clinical training in smaller, rural communities across the province. This year, instead of two students, which has been the case for the past three years, four third-year medical students will be at Trail for the academic year.
“We are thrilled to offer more opportunities for students to learn medicine with our program and encourage them to immerse themselves in what Trail and the Kootenays has to offer,” says Dr. Cheryl Hume, ICC Site Director for Trail.
Nicole Gill, a Rossland native, is one of four new students entering the Trail ICC program. Gill who completed her undergraduate degree at UBC Okanagan and is currently enrolled with the SMP is excited for the opportunity to return to her hometown to begin her clinical training.
“I hope to one day practice as a family physician in rural BC,” says Gill. “Although I have a relatively thorough understanding of the rural lifestyle, I am interested in gaining insight into what it is like to practice medicine in a small community.”
The Trail ICC program continues to receive strong support from the medical community, Interior Health, as well as the citizens of Trail, Rossland, Fruitvale, and surrounding areas who allow the students to take part in their health care.
Next summer, the UBC Department of Family Practice is expected to launch a new, two-year family medicine residency program.
New director, space, and students for Vernon ICC program
Meanwhile, SMP’s ICC program in Vernon is set to welcome its fourth cohort of third-year medical students this September. And there are new faces and new spaces.
Dr. Carmen Larsen, Family Physician and Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Family Practice, recently joined the SMP as the new Site Director for the Vernon ICC. Part of her role will be to lead the program’s operations and future development in Vernon.
“I am looking forward to building on the program’s successes at Vernon Jubilee Hospital and in our community clinics,” says Larsen. “The medical community, Interior Health, and the citizens of Vernon continue to be key partners in our ability to offer this program to our students now and in the future.”
Each year, two third-year medical students, who have a keen interest in practicing medicine in small, rural communities complete their academic year at the Vernon ICC program. And later this fall, students will have a new space to call home in the Polson Tower at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Construction is underway in the previously shelled-in fifth floor to create a new administrative and student space for the ICC program. The space will include centralized education areas, a clinical skills room, two videoconferences rooms, as well as an on-call sleep area, lounge, and lockers for medical students. It will also provide a venue for professional development programs for family physicians and specialists in Vernon and surrounding communities.
Summer Student Research: The Efficacy of Methadone in Managing Cancer Pain
Researchers at the BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for the Southern Interior are providing clinical research experience for SMP students during the summer break.
Second-year medical student Matt Mittelstadt has teamed up with Dr. Gillian Fyles, medical leader of the Pain and Symptom Management/Palliative Care Program at the BC Cancer Agency’s Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre in Kelowna. Fyles is also research leader at the Oncology Palliative Care for the BC Cancer Agency. Together, Mittelstadt and Fyles are examining the efficacy and safety of methadone treatment in managing pain for ambulatory cancer patients.
“Methadone is most commonly known in the public sphere as a medication used in harm reduction to treat patients with drug addiction,” says Mittelstadt. “However, as an opioid, it has also shown to be an effective tool in managing cancer pain.”
Mittelstadt is currently compiling data, dating back to 1999, on more than 700 cancer patients who were prescribed methadone by the BC Cancer Agency. His research focuses on each patient’s treatment plan leading up to and during the use of methadone; the cancer treatments received such as chemotherapy; and the associated side effects. The research will also address if any drug combinations were utilized in conjunction with methadone.
“Matt’s research is helping us collect data specifically on the responses to methadone in reducing the pain and the side effects experienced,” says Fyles. “This information will assist us in caring for our patients better.”
Mittelstadt’s research project is made available in part by a donation from The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation. A total of nine SMP students are involved in summer research projects ranging from local clinical-based research within the Okanagan to global health research abroad. Funding is also provided by the UBC Faculty of Medicine, SMP, and Interior Health.
Carmen Larsen, Site Director, Integrated Community Clerkship, Vernon
Dr. Carmen Larsen is a family physician in Vernon and Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Family Practice. Dr. Larsen completed her medical degree at Dalhousie University and Family Medicine residency at the University of Alberta. She also holds a Master of Education in Educational Psychology and Special Education from UBC. For the past five years, Larsen has worked in urgent care, corrections, and completed numerous locums in family practice clinics in and around Edmonton. She relocated to Vernon in 2013 to continue her practice which includes locums and on-call surgical assists at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.
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BC Health Minster Terry Lake and Dr. Craig Montalbetti (centre) are joined by the six family medicine residents who have begun their training with the new UBC Family Medicine residency training site in Kamloops.
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