Warren Brock

Communications Manager

Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, Southern Medical Program
Office: Reichwald Health Sciences Centre
Phone: 250.807.8601
Email: warren.brock@ubc.ca


Dr. Ryan Hoiland has been appointed Assistant Professor (tenure-track) with the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences (CPS) and Investigator with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM) effective July 1, 2024.

Dr. Hoiland completed his PhD and MSc in Interdisciplinary Studies with UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences where he was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal. His graduate training focused on the physiologic mechanisms that regulate and preserve oxygen delivery to the human brain in acute and chronic hypoxic settings. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Hoiland joined Vancouver General Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit research team in 2019, and the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) in 2020.

Most recently, he has served as an Assistant Professor (grant tenure) with the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Medicine, Division of Critical Care Medicine. In his new role, Dr. Hoiland will lead a research program that simultaneously integrates basic and clinical research on acute brain injury and advances the research priorities of the CCDPM and the Department of CPS.

Each year, Southern Medical Program (SMP) students recognize outstanding faculty and staff across the BC Interior for making exceptional contributions to their medical education. A special congratulations to the 2024 recipients and thank you for your commitment to medical education.

Year 1 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award

Dr. Mike DeLorme, Adjunct Professor, UBC Faculty of Medicine

Year 2 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award

Dr. Richard Hooper, Clinical Associate Professor, UBC Department of Medicine

Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Kamloops

Dr. Melissa Paquette, Clinical Assistant Professor, UBC Department of Pediatrics

Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Kelowna

Dr. Aaron Jackson, Clinical Instructor, UBC Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Trail

Dr. Hannah Mackenzie, Clinical Instructor, UBC Department of Medicine

Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Vernon

Dr. Mathilde “Tilly” Buys, Clinical Instructor, UBC Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics

2024 Southern Medical Program Graduating Class Award Winners—Co-Recipient

Dr. Allan Jones, Professor, UBC Department of Medicine

2024 Southern Medical Program Graduating Class Award Winners—Co-Recipient

Dr. Delilah Topic—Clinical Associate Professor, UBC Department of Medicine

2024 Southern Medical Program Graduating Class Award Winners—Co-Recipient

Dr. Kayla Parker—Clinical Instructor, UBC Department of Pediatrics


Dr. Tara Gill has been appointed the new Faculty Development Director for the Southern Medical Program (SMP) effective June 1, 2024. Dr. Gill will continue in her role as the Site Director for the Trail Integrated Community Clerkship (ICC). Dr. Gill is an emergency medicine physician who has worked at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) for the past 18 years. She is also a Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Family Practice.

Dr. Gill completed her medical degree at the University of Toronto and residency training at UBC and Queen’s University. For the past three years, Dr. Gill has led the development and delivery of the Trail ICC program. She has also served as a preceptor for countless learners at KBRH and those training with the Interior Health Rural Mobile Simulation program. Most recently, she serves as the Lead for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Working Group at KBRH and a member of the Regional Gender Equity Table Kootenay Boundary. Outside of medicine, Dr. Gill loves spending time outdoors skiing and biking with her family and friends in the Kootenays.

As the new Faculty Development Director, Dr. Gill will help foster a culture of teaching excellence throughout the Interior Health region. She will also leverage learning and training resources to deliver faculty development opportunities that advance teaching excellence and leadership.

Congratulations to the Southern Medical Program Class of 2024 on your graduation and earning your medical degrees. This year’s graduation class includes 35 new medical doctors educated and trained in the Interior Health region. Meet some of our newest SMP graduates:

Aneesha Thouli
Hometown: Kelowna

What attracted you to your field?
The ability to help such a diverse group of people is one of the biggest things that drew me to medicine. I’ve always had an interest in working in a hospital. My mom is an x-ray technician at Kelowna General Hospital so I spent a lot of my childhood hearing cool stories and getting to go to work with her!

What is your favourite moment from your time at UBC?
One of my favourite moments was getting to work with my mom during my clerkship. It was a really cool experience to have that opportunity being fortunate enough to train in the same hospital I grew up in!

What is one piece of advice you have for students entering your program?
Take time to enjoy yourself, spend time with your classmates – they will become your family, and fully experience medical school. You’ll be done sooner than you think, and you’ll want those memories to hold on to! Oh, and there will always be time to study, so say yes to as many of the cool opportunities you can.

What’s next for you?
I’m heading to Vancouver to start my Emergency Medicine residency at Vancouver General!

What are you looking forward to most about the program you’ve matched to and the community you’ll be joining as a future resident?
I’ve always lived in Kelowna so I’m excited to explore the coast. The residents there seem amazing and I’m excited to learn from really talented doctors over the next 5 years.

Nicole Hawe
Hometown: Nakusp

What attracted you to your field?
Growing up in rural BC, I was constantly in awe of the rural docs there and how important they were in our community. This shaped my desire to pursue rural medicine. In clerkship, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing rural Internists and I was hooked. I found the breadth of practice, acuity and complexity challenging yet so rewarding which drove my decision to pursue this career path.

What is your favourite moment from your time at UBC?
There have been too many amazing moments with the SMP crew to name them all. The moment that sticks out the most has been the new development of our Overcooked video game obsession over the past 5 months. It has been so nice to finally get to spend quality time together after the hectic travel of 4th year. I will miss you all so much.

What is one piece of advice you have for students entering your program?
Medicine can feel very all-encompassing at times. Maintaining key aspects of your life that make you feel yourself and grounded is extremely important. You need to feel your best in order to serve others to the best of your ability. It may feel like you never have enough time, but continuing friendships outside of medicine and keeping up with hobbies that bring joy are things I made nonnegotiable and I am very grateful for that.

What’s next for you?
I am thrilled to be starting residency in the UBC Fraser Valley Internal Medicine program. This is a new program with a small cohort of only 5 residents and we will have the chance to learn in many different communities within the Fraser Valley. My end goal is to practice General Internal Medicine in a smaller, rural community in BC.

What are you looking forward to most about the program you’ve matched to and the community you’ll be joining as a future resident?
I am so excited to be joining a program in its first year. I think we will have so many opportunities to help shape the future of this program while leading following years in the process. Having the opportunity to learn in many different communities throughout residency will also keep the learning fresh and allow me to develop a wide breadth of skills that will be so helpful in future practice.

Emmet Suttill
Hometown: Kamloops

What attracted you to your field?
I was attracted to family medicine for the flexibility and broad scope of practice. The ability to work across emergency departments, hospital wards and health clinics is highly appealing to me, and I think it keeps things exciting.

What is your favourite moment from your time at UBC?
Late nights with friends while on call. Putting in the work and having shared experiences really strengthens friendships. Many of my fondest memories are of having a brief rest late at night with some buddies and sharing laughs over vending machine snacks and ramen noodles. That camaraderie is something that I will remember forever.

What is one piece of advice you have for students entering your program?
Laughter is the best medicine, so have fun!

What’s next for you?
I have some time off before residency, so in between relocating and finishing my pre-residency checklist, I’ll be backpacking across southeast Asia as well as white-water raft guiding!

Afterwards, I’ll be moving to Chilliwack to start my family medicine residency.

What are you looking forward to most about the program you’ve matched to and the community you’ll be joining as a future resident?
I’m very excited for Chilliwack’s longitudinal emergency medicine training, as I’m someone who learns well from hands-on experience and I know that the program excels in this area.

I’m also excited to move to Chilliwack because I’ve heard that they have good mountain biking and awesome white-water kayaking on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers!

Dr. Delilah Topic, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology
Community: Kelowna

Please describe your practice:
Medical Oncologist – Breast Cancer, Lymphoma, Myeloma.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
It’s my favorite thing! I love being able to teach students “pearls” that I’ve learned along the way that will help them in their clinical practice. I also love having the opportunity to impart the importance of balance in medicine to my students, and just how important it is to also take care of ourselves, so that we can best take care of our patients.

What do you love most about where you live?
I am a runner, and living in Kelowna is great for being able to run with beautiful scenery. I also enjoy all of the beautiful places to hike. Of course, the wineries are also a plus 😉.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Sometimes saying “no” is a sign of strength. Know your boundaries and limits.

Learn more about teaching opportunities at the Southern Medical Program.

Dr. Christopher West has been appointed the new Assistant Dean, Research (ADR) for the Southern Medical Program (SMP) for a one-year term. Dr. West is an Investigator with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management based at UBC Okanagan and an Associate Professor with the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences. Dr. West is also a member of the UBC ICORD (International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries Research Centre.

Dr. West earned a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science at Essex University followed by a MSc and PhD in Exercise Physiology at Brunel University. He then completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) at UBC. Dr. West has previously been a Michael Smith Foundation Health Research Scholar and a Heart and Stroke National New Investigator who also served as an Assistant Professor with the UBC School of Kinesiology. Dr. West’s research explores the circuits controlling cardiovascular and autonomic function following spinal cord injury. His research laboratory relocated to the SMP and UBC Okanagan in 2018.

In his new role as ADR, Dr. West will oversee and support the operation of health research activities in the Interior Health region. He will liaise and work with all faculty members of SMP to set the strategic research direction, ensuring alignment with the Faculty of Medicine. Through collaborations with scientists and clinicians and in partnership with UBC Okanagan and Interior Health, Dr. West will support investigators to achieve their research goals, build research capacity, and facilitate undergraduate and graduate students in research.

SMP student Kara Ruff examines a volunteer patient alongside Dr. Marjorie Docherty, Family Practice Lead for SMP, and SMP classmate Dylan Nemes.

KARA RUFF DIDN’T HAVE TO WAIT LONG FOR AN INTRODUCTION to hands-on patient care as a first-year Southern Medical Program (SMP) student at UBC Okanagan.

Before heading into a family doctor’s office in her first week of medical school, her preceptor asked Ruff to research a patient’s disability to be prepared to conduct a physical exam. Ruff said she went into the assignment feeling anxious but emerged feeling empowered.

“I did my research as best as possible,” she says. “It was definitely nerve-wracking. Facing the challenge head-on, I learned early that the best education often comes from stepping out of your comfort zone. That first day, daunting as it was, set the stage for a journey where every patient interaction became a profound learning experience.”

Ruff’s experience embodies the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s philosophy of early patient contact and learning alongside family physicians. By thrusting students into real-world scenarios from the start, the program instills a patient-centred approach to health care, says Dr. Marjorie Docherty, the Family Practice Lead for SMP.

This collaborative effort involves local family physicians who open their doors to mentor the doctors of tomorrow. This gesture speaks volumes about the community’s commitment to nurturing future medical professionals.

A patient lies on an examination table while two student doctors and their instructor stand at the patient's feet. The three physicians look at the patient's ankle while one of the physicians touches the ankle.

Across the Interior Health region, over 1,600 family physicians and specialists help train medical students in hospitals, community health centres and family practice clinics as part of UBC’s four-year medical undergraduate degree program.

Further, Dr. Docherty’s role extends beyond the urban setting of Kelowna into the rural landscapes of British Columbia. Her efforts in placing third-year students in rural family practice rotations help support the unique health-care challenges of these areas.

“Our rural family physicians are amazing in terms of responding to the requests to support our training needs,” she says. “Preceptors are really overwhelmed, and they teach our students because they care.”

Dr. Docherty says the rural family practice training provides a diverse and rich learning environment for the students. SMP is training skilled physicians and instilling in them a sense of community service and adaptability, qualities essential for the ever-evolving landscape of health care.

“By mentoring these bright medical students, we’re not just shaping the future of health care; we’re strengthening our communities’ present and future wellbeing,” Dr. Docherty says. “Every doctor who opens their practice to a student contributes to a legacy of compassionate, skilled care that benefits us all.”

A physician stands at a door smiling at a patient who looks back towards him.

SMP student Dylan Nemes.

SMP student Dylan Nemes says what he appreciates most about the program’s approach is how much he was drawn to continuity in health care. He watched how a family doctor becomes a trusted resource throughout their patients’ lives.

“I saw a patient early on and then again two months later,” Nemes says. “This patient had a complicated medical history and felt overwhelmed. As a first-year student, I listened to the patient and the doctor’s assessment.

“On the return visit, the difference was profound. The patient, whom I had initially spent about 15 to 20 minutes with, remembered our conversation and was incredibly grateful. Seeing how a brief interaction could significantly impact her life was surprising and deeply gratifying.”

Those interactions can’t be simulated in a classroom, says Nemes. “It’s completely different. You remember everything so much better because you have this face, this person, this experience,” he says.

Having students in the office also benefits working doctors and the entire practice, from front-line administration staff to patients, says Kelowna family physician Dr. Leanne Armstrong. Over the years, she has opened her Kelowna clinic’s doors to many SMP students and says they energize everyone.

A close-up photo of a stethoscope being placed on a patient's elbow joint to gauge blood pressure.

SMP student Dylan Nemes takes a blood-pressure reading from a volunteer patient. Patient interactions are part of first- and second-year studies at SMP.

“Having students in the clinic is a breath of fresh air,” she says. “Their enthusiasm and perspective enhance our practice and invigorate the entire team. It’s a reminder of the vibrant energy and passion that drives health care.”

That welcoming attitude goes far in helping students settle into their roles, Nemes says, knowing how challenging it can be for a doctor to run their own office or clinic while mentoring students.

“I’m deeply grateful to the doctors who dedicate their time to teach us, even though it demands more from them. The impact on my education is profound. Each doctor brings a lifetime of experience, imparting knowledge and skills that shape my understanding and approach to medicine.”

Ruff says each of her experiences with a family doctor fostered resiliency, confidence and compassion. The approach honed her practical skills and nurtured a deep sense of adaptability—important traits for aspiring physicians. She says the hands-on training was vital for her; she identifies as Metis and wants to work in under-served areas she knows to offer unique challenges in accessing services and life-giving medicines and supplies.

“I wanted a career where I saw the impact that I was having on people every day,” she explains. “I’m from a small town—Campbell River—on Vancouver Island. I applied through the rural pathway, and I’m also Indigenous—I’m Métis. As an Indigenous female physician, I want to help as many people and have as great an impact as possible. That’s why I went into medical school.”

The UBCO Interdisciplinary Student Health Conference continues to exceed expectations. Over 200 people attended the student-led conference which featured research and public health experiences from 68 students and represented six different faculties at UBC Okanagan.

“It was inspiring to be surrounded by such keen students both on the planning committee and all the conference participants,” says Richie Mageto, Southern Medical Program student and conference planning committee co-chair. “I’m certain that new connections that were made will only further the research culture here at UBCO.”

This year’s conference was the largest in its eleven years of history. Congratulations to the 2024 top presentations:

Digital Health and Technologies (poster)
Renata Kanerva: Opportunities and challenges parents may encounter when using a digital tool to access tangible social support

Child and Public Health (poster)
Dylan Nemes: Timeline Mapping Congenital Heart Disease

Clinical and Emergency Care (poster)
Belle Stokes: Colon Dopaminergic Response and Concurrent Behavioural Effects in Inflammatory Conditions

Community and Social Health (poster)
Madison Eagle: Discrimination of Chronic Pain: The Role of Patient Weight and Pain Origin

Health Policy and Advocacy (poster)
Haley Berrisford: Is quality participation related to decisions to re-enroll in an exercise program for people with disabilities?

Rural and Remote Health (poster)
Simran Gill: Active Steps: Feasibility of a virtual intervention to promote active lifestyles in children with type 1 diabetes living in rural and remote communities

Biomedicine and Pharmaceuticals (5 min oral presentation)
Keanna Spanggaard: Analysis of the Role of Palmitoyltransferase Genes in Neuronal Cell Death

Child and Public Health (5 min oral presentation)
Morgan Game and Hillary Shaba: Combating Food Insecurity at UBCO through the Community Meal Program with a Focus on Long-Term Viability

Clinical and Emergency Care (5 min oral presentation)
Sara Klick: Exploring stroke-related factors that modulate motor imagery-related brain activation

Community and Social Health (5 min oral presentation)
Negin Kazemian : Unraveling the interplay of gut microbiome, metabolites, and mucus in luminal cholesterol metabolism

Health Policy and Advocacy (5 min oral presentation)
Brandon Hayashi and Samara Reyes: Parental Perspectives On the Self-Injurious Behaviour Intensity Screening Assessment (SIBISA): A New Tool To Assess Self Injury In Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Rural and Digital Health (5 min oral presentation)
Kendra Corman: Evaluating the Social Network Typology of Adults 50 years and Older with Mental Health Concerns in Rural BC

“Audience Choice” (top 10-minute presentation)
Kennedy Wiens: Psilocin Inhibits Select Pro-Inflammatory Functions of Brain Immune Cells

The student organizers would like to acknowledge all of the presenters, adjudicators, and volunteers for making this year’s conference a great success.

“To see the outstanding caliber of students, presentations, and research in this superbly run volunteer student-led academic conference is more than I ever envisioned when planning the very first conference 12 years ago,” says Dr. Charlotte Jones, Professor of Medicine and Director of Student Research with the SMP.

To learn more about planning for the 2025 conference, contact ubco.ishc@ubc.ca.

Southern Medical Program (SMP) student Kayla Korolek will represent the UBC Faculty of Medicine on the national stage at the Canadian Medical Student Research Competition on May 4th, 2024.  Hosted by the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, the event brings together medical students from across Canada for the annual research event.

Korolek is the sole UBC representative and will present her project Exploring cancer survivors’ perspectives of primary care provider involvement in post-cancer treatment in the BC Interior: a mixed methods study. Each student will have seven minutes to present and three minutes to answer questions from the judges.

Tell us about your research project.

As part of the FLEX (Flexible and Enhanced Learning) course, I was looking for a project that would allow me to get more involved in cancer research. I have a bit of qualitative research background, so I thought supporting a mixed-method study would add to my qualitative skills. I met with Dr. Christine Voss, my project supervisor, who is leading a broader cancer research project as part of the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management’s Clinical Research Incubator.

What was your involvement?

The larger research team had already engaged with family physicians and oncologists throughout the Interior region to gain their insights. My work was to help explore patient perspectives. We worked with the BC cancer registry to recruit approximately 500 participants. We collected qualitative and quantitative data through various interviews and online surveys. The survey and interview questions were put together in partnership with cancer survivors.

What did you learn from the experience?

I learned how trusting and thankful patients are for the system that provides them care. I also felt positive about the healthcare system and the power of resiliency in people. Our research will contribute to the overall process of developing new strategies to optimize primary care provider-led survivorship care.

Working with Dr. Voss, really helped me elevate my research presentation skills. She is such an expert at writing, ethics, and paying attention to the small details. She also has a strong group of students working with her. We all see her as a very valuable mentor.

How does it feel to be selected to present?

I was honestly very surprised. I’m excited to be a part of the competition and see research projects from across Canada. It also feels good to have our research recognized amongst my peers. I cannot wait to represent my research team, our participants, and UBC Medicine in May.

The Healthcare Travelling Roadshow is seeking health profession students and recent graduates to help recruit the next generation of rural healthcare professionals.

Join us for one of three week-long trips to rural BC to showcase career options to high school students and connect with community stakeholders and local healthcare professionals.

  • Kootenay Roadshow (Castlegar, South Slocan, Kaslo):  April 28 – May 3, 2024
  • Peace Roadshow (Valemount, McBride, Chetwynd, Fort Nelson): April 28 – May 4, 2024
  • Nechako Roadshow (Vanderhoof, Houston, Fort St. James, Dease Lake, Stewart): May 12 – 18, 2024

Application deadline is February 27, 2024. All travel, accommodation, and meal expenses are covered for participants.


The Healthcare Travelling Roadshow is delivered in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia, UBC Faculty of Medicine, Northern Medical Programs Trust, Interior Health, and Rural Education Action Plan.

Developed in 2010 as a grassroots program, the provincial initiative has connected with more than 13,500 high school students during 79 community visits throughout BC.

For more info, contact warren.brock@ubc.ca.