Warren Brock

Communications Manager

Southern Medical Program
Office: Reichwald Health Sciences Centre
Phone: 250.807.8601
Email: warren.brock@ubc.ca


The Power of Positive

Throughout his training with the Southern Medical Program, Dr. Jeremy Dick experienced the impact and transformative nature of the relationship between physicians and patients.

One particular encounter that really stuck with him was during his training at Kelowna General Hospital. On his six-week pediatrics rotation, Dick assisted with the delivery of a new baby and witnessed the pure joy of new parents welcoming their first child into the world.

“The father stood next to me, full of admiration as he stared down at their new baby,” says Dick. “It was an amazing experience and I was so grateful to have been able to share in their excitement.”

Weeks later, Dick unexpectedly ran into the same couple and their newborn in the clinic. They instantly recognized him and together they reconnected over one of their happiest moments in their lives.

“Seeing the parents again reminded me how positive patient experiences can have such a lasting and memorable impact,” says Dick.

Originally from Summerland, Dick completed a BSc at UBC’s Vancouver campus before returning to the region to study with the SMP. Drawn to the program to be closer to family, he also thrived in the smaller class size offered at UBC Okanagan.

“Going through medical school with the smaller number of learners, you get to work more closely with your preceptors and have the opportunity to be more hands-on with procedures,” says Dick.

It was during shadowing sessions with local radiologists and observing the advanced technology used in patient care that Dick ignited his passion for the field of radiology.

“Radiology allows you to see inside the human body without the need of disrupting tissue,” says Dick. “The cerebral nature of the field and endless problem-solving are ultimately the best fit for my future practice.”

Dick now heads off to the University of Ottawa for five years with their Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program. Thinking back on his time with SMP, he remains open to the possibility of returning to practice in the region.

“I have so many positive memories from my time in Kelowna and would be open to practice in a smaller BC city,” says Dick. “It has been an amazing experience and I’m truly grateful for everyone’s support.”

Family Through and Through

Dr. Alysson Hamilton always knew she wanted become a family doctor, but her career aspirations first took a backseat to podium dreams on the international cross-country ski circuit.

Hamilton competed around the world and built an impressive athletic record as a member of the Canadian national ski team.

When the time came for her to leave the sport, she focused her sights on a UBC medical degree. Originally from Salmon Arm, she was drawn to the Southern Medical Program’s intimate learning environment and the opportunity to be closer to family.

“The faculty and administration are so welcoming that you feel like you’re part of a big family,” says Hamilton. “Students are given the space to learn and our classmates really support each other through the challenges of medical school.”

Hamilton credits Healer’s Art, a discovery model curriculum on values, identity and professionalism, as an invaluable resource to her personal growth and learning. The program creates a safe space for students to reflect and share their successes and challenges with their peers.

In the final year of her degree, Hamilton returned to her hometown to work as part of a health clinic at Salmon Arm Secondary School. The clinic brings together physicians and allied health professionals to offer accessible health services such as addictions counselling and sexual health for high school students.

“It really shows you the power of a small community with people coming together to make things happen and looking out for each other,” says Hamilton.

Ultimately, it’s the familiarity and strength of small communities that solidified her interest in rural family medicine.

“I want to be able to develop life-long connections with my patients – treat the whole person, their individuality, and their families,” says Hamilton. “It’s been shown that long-term relationships with patients equate to better health and it ties closely with my passion for lifestyle and behavior change.”

As a newly-graduated physician, Hamilton leaves the Okanagan for the Kootenay Boundary region and two years of family medicine training. She ultimately plans to practice within the Interior, and is loving the idea of getting reacquainted with the phenomenal cross-country trail system in her new community of Rossland.

Each year, Southern Medical Program (SMP) students from across the Interior Health region highlight individual faculty and staff who have made significant contributions to their education.

The 2020 SMP Excellence Award recipients are recognized for their dedication and outstanding support for students across all four years and the SMP’s distributed education sites.

Year 1 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award
Allison Gilbert, Program Manager, Years 1 & 2, Course Manager, MEDD 412







Year 2 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award
Carmen Sigalet, Clinical Instructor, Department of Family Practice








Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Kamloops
Dr. Hilary Baikie, Clinical Instructor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology








Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Kelowna
Dr. Alysha MacKenzie-Feder, Clinical Instructor, Department of Pediatrics







Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Kelowna
Dr. Michael MacLeod, Clinical Instructor, Department of Surgery







Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Trail
Dr. Ryan Truant, Clinical Instructor, Department of Anesthesia, Pharmacology & Therapeutics







Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Vernon
Dr. Riley Martin, Clinical Instructor, Department of Emergency Medicine






Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Vernon
Dr. Brett Wilson, Clinical Instructor, Department of Emergency Medicine






Southern Medical Program Graduating Class Award
Dr. Olusegun Oyedele, Senior Instructor, Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences & MEDD 412 Course Co-Director







Southern Medical Program Graduating Class Award
Dr. Remy Wong, Clinical Instructor, Department of Medicine, Division of Community Internal Medicine







Congratulations to the Southern Medical Program (SMP) Class of 2020 on graduating from medical school and earning their medical degrees.

Our new graduates now head off across BC and Canada to pursue their passions and future career paths as family physicians and specialists.

Here are a few highlights from the SMP Class of 2020:

  • 32 new physicians educated and trained in the BC Interior.
  •  17 graduates matched to family medicine including two graduates in the BC Interior with the Kamloops and Kootenay Boundary sites.
  • 15 graduates matched to Royal College specialty programs including anesthesiology (2), dermatology, diagnostic radiology, emergency medicine, internal medicine (2), neurosurgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics (2), psychiatry (3), and vascular surgery.
  • 13 students matched to UBC residency programs.

Read the SMP Class of 2020 Graduation Newsletter.

The Reichwald Family Foundation Southern Medical Program (SMP) award recognizes two second-year SMP students for excellence in academics, leadership, and community service. This year’s recipients Katie Harding and Richard Xiang exemplify a commitment to both medical education and community support.

Born and raised in Salmon Arm, Katie Harding completed a BScN and worked as a registered nurse prior to enrolling with the SMP. Harding has served as the Vice President Academic for the SMP in addition to contributing to the Peer Mentorship in Medical Education Program. She has also volunteered within the community as a Special Olympics coach and leader at the Foundry’s Run for It Program. Additionally, Harding is working with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management to develop a student-run clinic in Kelowna that supports and enhances the chronic care for stroke survivors.

“I am deeply moved to have been chosen as one of the recipients for this award and want to give my most heartfelt thanks to the Reichwald family for their generosity,” says Harding. “Receiving this award is a true honour.”

Born in Sacramento and raised in Penticton, Richard Xiang was in the process of earning a BSc in Microbiology at UBC’s Vancouver campus before returning to the Okanagan to study medicine. He currently serves as a student representative on the Undergraduate Medical Education Committee and as a SMP FLEX Representative. Xiang volunteers as a Special Olympics soccer and powerlifting coach and participates in the UBC Interprofessional Health Mentors Program. Most recently, Xiang has been volunteering as a student representative on various COVID-19 related UGME committees responsible for curriculum delivery.

“The Reichwald family has been instrumental in the success of the Southern Medical Program and I thank them for their generous support and commitment to educating future health care professionals in the Interior,” says Xiang. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that this scholarship provides and I look forward to serving our community to the best of my ability.”

While many Canadians stay at home and follow physical distancing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, home is not always the safest place. The World Health Organization reports a worldwide increase in rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) since the beginning of the outbreak.

To help support this at-risk population locally, a group of Southern Medical Program (SMP) students recently launched an online awareness and fundraising campaign to support the Kelowna Women’s Shelter. We checked in with SMP student Stacy Dikareva to learn more.

How did you get involved?
At the onset of the pandemic, a local family physician, Dr. Marjorie Docherty, raised the issue of IPV and encouraged SMP students to come up with a way to address the potential lack of community supports for survivors. To address this need, a group of students with a shared interest in women’s health formed the Kelowna Women’s Safety Initiative. Our team includes Amy Dawson, Kyla Freeman, Remi Kandal, Tanelle Smith, Emily Wiesenthal, and myself.

What are some of the biggest challenges?
Unfortunately, one in three women experience IPV in their lifetime, and every week a woman is killed by IPV in Canada. Anti-violence programs in BC have also seen an increase in use of their services during this time. IPV is typically framed as violence against cis-gender women in heterosexual relationships, but occurs across all gender identities and sexual orientations. Physical and social distancing measures associated with the pandemic have further isolated survivors, and created new avenues by which abusers can intimidate their partners.

Kelowna Women’s Shelter has been supporting survivors of IPV in Kelowna for 40 years. They provide shelter, food, in-person and telephone counselling, safety planning, and outreach support. Unfortunately, the Shelter has experienced significant loss of revenue through closure of their thrift store and cancellation of fundraising events. Physical donations are being accepted in limited quantities in keeping with public health measures.

Thus, Kelowna Women’s Safety Initiative was formed with three goals in mind. First, our goal is to raise funds for the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and help support survivors in our community. Second, we aim to promote the essential services of the Shelter being offered to survivors at this time. And finally, we hope to increase awareness around IPV in the context of this pandemic among physicians, patients, and the public.

How can people support the campaign?
(1) Donate to the campaign: https://trellis.org/kwscovid19. All donations are processed electronically, go directly to Kelowna Women’s Shelter, and any donation over $20 is automatically issued a tax receipt. For the month of June, we will be holding a silent auction featuring items from some of Okanagan’s amazing businesses, artists, and artisans. You may choose to bid in the silent auction, donate directly to the campaign, or both!

(2) Be an advocate and help spread awareness of IPV in your community. Follow @kelownawomensshelter as well as our initiative @kelownawsi, and share the campaign link https://trellis.org/kwscovid19.

(3) Be someone’s safe space. Learn about abusive behaviour – survivors of abuse often feel trapped and isolated from their supports. Physical distancing requirements have increased isolation. Reach out to someone who may be at risk of experiencing violence. Survivors may not be able to respond freely around their abuser, so reach out in various ways (texting, calling, or social media). Help survivors access supports and find a women’s shelter in BC.

For more information, please contact Stacy Dikareva at anastasia.dikareva@alumni.ubc.ca.

Dr. Diana Fort has been appointed Portfolio Site Lead, Student Assessment for the Southern Medical Program (SMP). Dr. Fort is an Emergency Medicine physician based in Kelowna, Clinical Assistant Professor with the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine, and former Site Leader, Undergraduate Education, Kelowna General Hospital (KGH).

From 2016-2018, Dr. Fort helped lead the development of undergraduate medical education at KGH and championed education opportunities from both learning and teaching perspectives. She completed her medical degree at Queen’s University and Emergency Medicine residency training with the University of Southern California and the University of Toronto. Dr. Fort is a Clinical Educator Fellow with the Faculty of Medicine’s Centre for Health Education Scholarship and is in the process of completing a Master of Health Professions Education degree.

As Portfolio Site Lead, Student Assessment, Dr. Fort will provide leadership and general oversight of the SMP Portfolio program and help optimize the educational experience for SMP students completing Portfolio components.

The UBC Faculty of Medicine has appointed Dr. Sarah Brears as the new Regional Associate Dean, Interior.

Dr. Brears was appointed Interim, Regional Associate Dean, Interior in May 2019. With her new appointment, effective June 1st, 2020, she will continue to provide strategic leadership of the Faculty’s undergraduate and postgraduate medical education programs for the Interior. This includes working collaboratively with partners, including Interior Health and UBC Okanagan, to ensure a high-quality educational experience for all of our learners in the region, as well as facilitating the health research strategy for the Interior.

Dr. Brears is a clinical faculty member of the UBC Department of Family Practice. Since joining the Southern Medical Program (SMP) in 2012, she has served as the Family Practice Site Director for Years 1 and 2, as well as the Clinical Experiences Integration Co-Lead and the MEDD 422 Course Co-Director. Prior to joining the SMP, Dr. Brears was with the University of Alberta’s Department of Family Practice, and served as the Regional Site Coordinator for the Alberta Rural Family Medicine Network in Grand Prairie.

Dr. Cara Wall has been appointed the new Director, Faculty Development for the Southern Medical Program (SMP). Dr. Wall is a hospitalist based at Kelowna General Hospital and Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Family Practice.

Dr. Wall completed her medical degree and residency training at the University of Saskatchewan. Since the early beginnings of the SMP, Dr. Wall has served as a preceptor for clinical skills, case-based learning, and clerkship rotations at KGH. In addition, she has led academic half-days and taught family practice residents in core hospital medicine rotations and diabetes clinic electives.

As Director, Faculty Development, Dr. Wall will help foster a culture of teaching excellence for the SMP and lead all forms of faculty development programs throughout the Interior Health region.  She will also determine appropriate support, resources, and programming to facilitate professional growth for SMP clinical faculty.

The SMP would also like to thank Dr. Robyn Hutchings for her outstanding work in leading the faculty development portfolio for the past two years. The program is grateful to have her continued service to the SMP as our Assistant Dean, Student Affairs.

Dr. Arthur Skotnicki has been appointed the Year 4 Electives Lead for the Southern Medical Program (SMP). Dr. Skotnicki is a general internist at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) and Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Medicine’s Division of Community Internal Medicine.

Dr. Skotnicki completed his medical degree at Jagiellonian University Medical College in Poland and internal medicine residency training at Dalhousie University. Since relocating from Nova Scotia to Kelowna in 2018, Dr. Skotnicki has served as a preceptor for UBC students and residents training in internal medicine at KGH. Additionally, he has supported numerous clinical skills and simulation sessions for SMP students.

In his new role, Dr. Skotnicki will help lead the delivery of the Year 4 elective experience throughout the Interior Health region. He will work in close collaboration with the SMP’s Year 4 team in addition to Year 4 Leads from the Island Medical Program, Northern Medical Program, and Vancouver Fraser Medical Program.

The SMP would like to thank Dr. Kirk Lawlor, our outgoing Year 4 Electives Lead. Dr. Lawlor joined the SMP leadership team in 2017 and greatly supported the growth and development of Year 4 electives in the region.