The first medical students to be fully educated and trained in the B.C. Interior are set to graduate from the University of British Columbia this spring.
UBC Okanagan welcomed the inaugural class of the Southern Medical Program in September 2011. Now, as part of the largest medical class in UBC history, these new doctors are preparing to enter residency training in family medicine or various specialties for the next two to five years.
“The past four years have been a great journey for both our students and our program,” says Dr. Allan Jones, Regional Associate Dean, Interior. “We are incredibly proud of these students who pioneered this program, and proud of the many players — instructors, staff, nurses and many others — who, by enabling their success, are supporting the health care needs of Interior communities.”
Students in the Southern Medical Program did most of their academic work — lectures, labs and small-group workshops — at UBC Okanagan, and received their clinical training at various hospitals and clinics throughout the Interior.
More than half of the SMP’s graduates will pursue training in primary care — family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics. One of them, Alexandra Bond, who grew up in Surrey, will head to Vancouver to begin a five-year residency in internal medicine at UBC.
“I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to complete my medical education with the Southern Medical Program’s inaugural class,” says Bond. “The SMP has a supportive learning environment that is cultivated by a team of dedicated administrative staff, talented physicians, an enthusiastic medical community, and incredible classmates. This has made for a truly exceptional experience.”
“On behalf of the Interior Health board as well as our physicians and staff, congratulations to the Southern Medical Program’s first graduating class,” says Interior Health Board Chair Erwin Malzer. “We are proud to play an important role in the future of tomorrow’s doctors, and we look forward to building upon our successful partnership with UBC.”
Bolstered by the Southern Medical Program, UBC will be graduating 292 MD students — its largest class ever — on May 20 at UBC’s Vancouver campus. UBC’s medical education program is now the fifth-largest in North America.