The UBC Faculty of Medicine is celebrating ten years of distributed medical education across the province of BC. In recognition of this milestone, we take a look back at some of the key people and stories involved in the development of the Southern Medical Program (SMP) leading up to the graduation of our inaugural class.
Dr. Connie Hull completed her medical degree and family medicine residency training at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Upon completion of her residency, she continued her involvement with the University for the next 17 years, eventually serving as a tenured Associate Professor. She left Memorial in 2002 relocating to Vernon with her family, leaving behind her esteemed post as Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.
Fast forward to April 2005, Premier Gordon Campbell first announced to the province that UBC’s medical school would be expanding to include a fourth site in the Interior. At the time, Dr. Hull was working in a family practice clinic in the small community of Lumby when her aspirations to return to academia serendipitously coincided with the government’s planned expansion. A few short months later, Dr. Hull was recruited as Clinical Education Leader to help lead the charge for UBC.
“My job in the beginning was really to promote the idea of a medical program coming to the Interior and recruit interested physicians as a core group of educators,” says Dr. Hull. “Starting small by creating new fourth year electives was seen as the best approach to introducing the notion of a new regional medical program and establishing a culture of teaching”.
So for the next four years, Dr. Hull travelled extensively to recruit preceptors, set up new electives, and build new relationships with key players at UBC, Interior Health, and the local physician community. Her travels crisscrossed the region multiple times per year to hospitals and clinics in Kelowna, Vernon, Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Penticton, Trail, Nelson, Cranbrook, and many towns in between.
The devil in the details, when developing each new elective she created learning objectives for the clinical experience and provided faculty development for every new preceptor. “Developing so many new electives from scratch was a huge challenge, but also part of the fun,” says Dr. Hull. The end result was the creation of over 70 new electives for UBC and the initial groundwork for the creation of the SMP.
With the hiring of Dr. Allan Jones, Regional Associate Dean in April 2009, together they set off on a new path leading the initial development of two new Integrated Community Clerkship (ICC) programs in Vernon and Trail. Both ICC programs were officially launched in September 2011 and have since become actively sought after by third year medical students across the province.
In June 2011, Dr. Hull transitioned to her next challenge and current role as Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, a position she once held and cherished at Memorial. Now into her second term, she has played a key role in developing new programs for SMP students to provide them with a high level of support.
This past summer, Dr. Hull was acknowledged for her dedication and work in medical education with her promotion to Clinical Professor with the UBC Department of Family Practice.
“It’s a rare opportunity to take part in the creation of a new medical program,” says Dr. Hull. “Looking back from where we started to our inaugural class graduating next spring, the SMP has been a huge success story and I am proud to have played an integral role in its development.”