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


The new Black Student MD Admissions Pathway will help address the underrepresentation of Black physicians in British Columbia (B.C.)

“The goal of the pathway is to remove barriers that hinder the professional and academic success of Black students, creating a community within and beyond UBC where Black MD students can see representation that reflects them within higher medical education and the healthcare system,” says Donneil McNab, the Faculty of Medicine Black Student Initiatives Manager.

In this newly created role, McNab hopes to inspire and encourage more Black students to study medicine in B.C., while also supporting them throughout their academic careers.

“The program will provide holistic and multifaceted support for students, and include touchpoints before, during and after their time with us at UBC,” she says. “It will be an honour to have that level of involvement in the student life cycle of Black MD students and the chance to create positive change for students.”

“Graduating more Black physicians is absolutely pivotal as we strive to eliminate racism and discrimination in the healthcare system, and make health care more responsive to the needs and experiences of Black people and other underrepresented communities while improving health outcomes for all British Columbians,” says Dr. Roger Wong, Vice-Dean, Education.

The new pathway reflects the Faculty of Medicine’s contract with society and commitment to educating, developing and mentoring diverse future health care practitioners — as outlined in its Building the Future: 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. The pathway also aligns with the recommendations within the UBC President’s Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence report.

“This pathway is the foundational step that the Faculty of Medicine is taking to help increase the representation of Black students within the MD program,” says Dr. Wong. “We recognize that this is just the beginning and more needs to be done, such as increasing the recruitment of Black mentors and role models. The Faculty remains committed to working collaboratively with various stakeholders to achieve this.”

Created in collaboration with various stakeholders in Black medical education across Canada, the pathway also draws on the successes of, and lessons from, the Faculty of Medicine’s Indigenous MD Admissions Pathway.

James Andrew

“Thanks to our reputation for recruiting and supporting Indigenous medical students, applications and admissions have increased fivefold over the past two decades,” says James Andrew, Faculty of Medicine Indigenous Student Initiatives Manager.

The Faculty of Medicine envisions similar outcomes for the Black Student MD Admissions Pathway while recognizing that the urgent work of anti-racism and meaningful, system-wide change requires engaged, long-term support from UBC, government and health institutions across the province.

Dr. Shahin Shirzad

“To effect change of this magnitude, we need to support Black leadership and expertise at all levels of the health care system,” says Dr. Shahin Shirzad, Assistant Dean, Admissions, MD Undergraduate Program. “This begins with education: ensuring accessibility to medical education for our Black community and providing an environment with opportunities and resources so all students can realize their potential.”

To this end, the Faculty of Medicine is committed to creating mentorship and ambassadorial opportunities as well as increasing access to academic, financial and well-being services to ensure Black students and students from other underrepresented groups succeed and thrive.

“As someone who has experienced racial inequity in healthcare, I think [the pathway] is a potential game-changer,” McNab says. “The beauty of the Black Student MD Admissions pathway is that it will benefit all students as they will have more opportunities to learn from and with a more diverse group of peers, which only makes for more culturally aware physicians.”

For more information, visit the Black Student MD Admissions Pathway page on the MD Undergraduate Program website.

Each year, Southern Medical Program (SMP) students recognize faculty and staff from across the Interior Health region for their outstanding contributions to medical education. The nomination and selection process for the annual awards program is completed solely by SMP students. Congratulations to our 2022 recipients.

Year 1 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award
Wendy Milligen
Program Coordinator, Years 1 & 2
Year 2 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award
Dr. Cara Wall
Director, Faculty Development
Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Kamloops
Dr. Cecily Jonker
Clinical Instructor, UBC Department of Surgery
Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Kelowna
Dr. Andrew Dickieson
Clinical Assistant Professor, UBC Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Trail
Dr. Narain Varma
Resident, UBC Family Practice
Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Vernon
Dr. Glenn Vaz
Clinical Instructor, UBC Department of Medicine
Year 3 Southern Medical Program Excellence Award – Vernon
Dr. Travis Allen
Clinical Instructor, UBC Department of Family Practice
SMP Graduating Class Award
Dr. Marjorie Docherty
Clerkship Site Leader, Southern Medical Program
SMP Graduating Class Award
Dr. Diana Fort
Assistant Dean, Southern Medical Program


Congratulations to the Southern Medical Program Class of 2022. Meet some of our newest MD graduates and SMP alumni.

Jordanna Roesler
Hometown: Kelowna

What attracted you to your field?
Growing up, I saw severe dermatologic diseases exacerbated by systemic barriers in remote northern communities. I knew I wanted to help close health gaps and better understand how internal diseases and social determinants of health could manifest through a person’s integumentary system such as their skin, hair and nails. Throughout medical school, my calling to dermatology was further solidified as I thoroughly enjoyed the procedural, medical, and humanistic aspects provided by dermatology.

What is your favourite moment from your time at UBC?
There’s been so many incredible moments throughout the past four years but one of my most recent favourites was matching with my partner to our top choice programs. Opening the results together was a moment I will never forget. We are incredibly thankful to be able to continue our training together and to be close to our families!

What is one piece of advice you have for students entering your program?
Medical school can be very demanding as well as rewarding. Creating and maintaining strong connections to community and relationships were instrumental to my overall success and wellbeing. Overall, don’t forget to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.

What’s next for you?
I am excited to start at a world-renowned program like UBC Dermatology this July and continue my journey in health advocacy and becoming a well-rounded dermatologist.

Richard Xiang
Hometown: Summerland B.C.

What attracted you to your field?
I was greatly inspired by my own family physician who provided exceptional medical care to our community in Summerland, B.C. I have always imagined myself establishing the same amazing longitudinal relationships with my own patients – celebrating their progress and successes, while helping them overcome health challenges and perceived setbacks.

What is your favourite moment from your time at UBC?
I was very fortunate to meet my amazing partner Jordanna during medical school training and each and every moment with her has been a highlight during my time at UBC. We were fortunate to be assigned to our top choice programs in Vancouver and we will be getting married at the end of May!

What is one piece of advice you have for students entering your program?
Find yourself a group of friends who boost you up and support each other. Medical school can be a long and rigorous process, having a solid support system around you will make all the difference!

What’s next for you?
Family Medicine Residency Training at the Vancouver-Fraser Program. I am beyond excited to start residency training with my amazing co-residents in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Svetlana Hadikin
Hometown: Castlegar

What attracted you to your field?
From a young age, I spent a lot of time volunteering with my parents and grandparents at community cultural events, and with Rotary. I knew I wanted my career to encompass what I loved most about volunteering, which was building connections while positively contributing to my community. Family medicine is the perfect way for me to interact with members of my community on a regular basis, while playing an active role in preventative medicine, empowering my patients to prioritize their health.

What is your favourite moment from your time at UBC?
One of my top moments in my four years of medical school was in my third year. I had just started my pediatrics rotation, which was my first block of clerkship. One week into the rotation, my preceptor was providing me with feedback, and she mentioned that one of the mothers of a child that I had seen that week had called. The boy’s mother wanted to express that she felt I had handled the interaction with her son very well, and that I would make an excellent doctor. I have carried this vote of confidence with me through my other clinical experiences, particularly when I am feeling discouraged after a more challenging interaction. I am reminded to draw on my strengths and embrace small victories.

What is one piece of advice you have for students entering your program?
Do your best to build connections early, particularly within the medical community. Some of my best experiences and most valuable opportunities have been the product of knowing some wonderful and very inspiring people. Be curious with your preceptors, befriend the nurses at the hospital, and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions if you feel you need a bit more help from an expert in a particular topic.

What’s next for you?
I am very excited to be returning to the Kootenay-Boundary region where I have the privilege of starting my residency training in Family Medicine. I am looking forward to the new adventures that residency is sure to bring, and to being closer to many of my friends and family members.

Adeeb Malas
Hometown: Damascus, Syria

What attracted you to your field?
Growing up in a war-torn country have opened my eyes toward the complexity of trauma and the variety of response to stress. The topic of mental health intrigued me, and I felt an immense desire to join a field that enables me to foster a sense of resiliency in others. The incredible privilege to care for people at such an intimate level, often exploring topics that are immensely private to patients, was a strong pull toward this career. I entered medicine wanting to make a strong impact on a micro-level. This field facilitates that perfectly with longer-than-average patient visits, chronic care and flexibility in practice settings.
Psychiatry also manages some of the most individualized illnesses in medicine, where two patients with the same clinical diagnosis present with vastly different histories. That variety assures me that I will always be challenged to learn and improve, which is essential in any career.

What is your favourite moment from your time at UBC?
One of my favorite moments was a camping trip that I arranged with my co-VP Social to Herald Provincial Park in Salmon Arm! Most of the class was able to make it. We had fireside chats, s’mores, and tenting parties! That night will always be a treasured memory!

What is one piece of advice you have for students entering your program?
Medicine is an incredibly demanding field. We often think about accomplishing the highest possible as overachieving medical students. This mentality can be destructive if you select a specialty based on the extremes in terms of prestige, remuneration, or fame. Remember that there is more to you than your career. Those other facets of you, similarly, deserve to be prioritized, whether it is being there for your family consistently, attending to your hobbies, or engaging in whatever you derive joy and fulfilment from. I hope that future students can engage in this privilege of a career, while maintaining their wellbeing and identity outside of it.

What’s next for you?
Next stop is UBC Psychiatry at Royal Columbian Hospital! I am blessed to match to my first choice specialty and site where I will work with an incredible cadre of residents!

The UBC Okanagan Interdisciplinary Student Health Conference (IDHC) brings together students from across UBC Okanagan to showcase their health science research and public health experiences at an engaging presentation event.

At our 2022 conference, an astounding 69 students presented 55 different projects from Science, Medicine, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, Heath and Social Development, Arts and Social Sciences, and Applied Sciences.

Congratulations to our top presenters and those selected for the three ten- minute presentation spots for this year’s conference.

10 Minute Presentations

Acute Intermittent Hypoxia Improves Orthostatic Tolerance in Chronic but not Acute Spinal Cord Injured Rats
Liisa Wainman (Medicine)

Towards an optimal integration of family physicians into the post-cancer treatment pathway in BC’s interior: A mixed methods study
Brian Hayes (Medicine)

The Co-development of Indigenous Community-led Culturally Safe Telediabetes/Obesity Care in BC’s Interior
Brookelyn Koersen (Science)

2022 top Presentation Awards

Biomedicine and Pharmaceuticals
Creation of mucus factories using colon organoids to combat intestinal diseases
Spencer Ursel, Science; Ojogbane Amedu, Applied Science

Child and Public Health
Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 Precautions on Classroom Communication for Adolescents with Hearing Loss: A Qualitative Study
Lindsay Booth, Medicine

Clinical and Emergency Care
ERCP Under General Anesthesia Compared to Conscious Sedation (EUGACCS) Study
Grant Greaves, Medicine

Community Health
The Toxic Drug Response Project
David Byres, Arts and Social Sciences; Victoria Bester, Health and Social Development

Health Policy and Advocacy
Planning and piloting peer-led food skills workshops for UBCO students
Morgan Game, Arts and Social Sciences

Rural and Remote Health
Being there: A qualitative exploration of support systems for rural adults 50 years and older with mental health concerns
Carley Paterson, Arts and Social Sciences

Student and Social Health
Understanding early semester distress in undergraduate students: The impact of work and predictability of work schedule
Jaime-Lyn MacLeod, Arts and Social Sciences; Eric Ferguson, Arts and Social Sciences

Virtual and Digital Health
Mobile App-Delivered Motivational Interviewing for Individuals on an Eating Disorder Clinic Waitlist: Pilot and Feasibility Study
Amané Halicki-Asakawa, Arts and Social Sciences


Download 2022 Conference Guide

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

Join us for a week-long road trip to rural BC to showcase career options to high school students and connect with community stakeholders and local healthcare professionals.

We have three roadshows planned for the spring of 2022:

  • May 1 to 7, 2022:  Okanagan Roadshow (Summerland, Oliver, Osoyoos)
  • May 1 to 7, 2022:  Bulkley Nechako Roadshow (Hazelton, Houston, Francois Lake, Grassy Plains, Burns Lake, Fraser Lake)
  • May 15 to 21, 2022:  Peace River Roadshow (Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge)

Application deadline is March 1, 2022. All travel, accommodation, and meal expenses are covered for participants. Interprofessional Education Passport credits are also available.


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.

Since its inception in 2010, the Healthcare Travelling Roadshow has connected with more than 10,500 high school students in 56 communities throughout BC. For more info, visit https://www.unbc.ca/northern-medical-program/healthcare-travelling-roadshow or contact Warren Brock at warren.brock@ubc.ca.

Dr. Mike Bergunder has been appointed Portfolio Site Lead for the Southern Medical Program (SMP), effective January 1, 2022. Dr. Bergunder is a Kelowna-based emergency physician and a Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Family Practice

Dr. Bergunder completed his medical degree at UBC, family medicine residency at the University of Alberta, and a fellowship in emergency medicine at UBC. He currently serves as the Medical Director for Interior Health’s Rural & Remote Framework and works a locum emergency physician primarily in the Okanagan. Since 2019, Dr. Bergunder has supported learning opportunities for UBC medical students as a Case-Based Learning Instructor, Indigenous Cultural Safety Facilitator, and Portfolio Coach. He also serves as a member of the BC Emergency Medicine Network Advisory Committee and UBC 23 24 Indigenous Cultural Safety Advisory Committee.

As Portfolio Site Lead, Dr. Bergunder will provide leadership and general oversight for the SMP Portfolio program. He will help lead the recruitment of Portfolio coaches and foster a supportive learning environment to encourage excellence in teaching and teacher retention. He will also work with SMP Faculty Development to ensure that Portfolio coaches have ongoing professional development opportunities.

Dr. Sarah Purcell has been appointed Assistant Professor with the UBC Faculty of Medicine Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and UBC Okanagan Faculty of Science, Department of Biology effective January 1, 2022. Dr. Purcell will serve as an Investigator with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM) based at UBC Okanagan.

Dr. Purcell completed a BSc in Dietetics and MSc in Clinical Nutrition at Florida State University followed by a PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Alberta. For the past two and a half years, she has served as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the University of Colorado focused primarily on energy intake regulation among breast cancer survivors. Dr. Purcell’s research aims to improve our understanding of the unique dietary requirements of people with chronic diseases and reduce obesity in people with chronic disease by implementing nutrition and exercise interventions. She has authored 23 peer-reviewed publications and served as a Principle Investigator on three pilot grants and two U.S. national fellowships.

In her new role, Dr. Purcell will lead a strong, innovative, and internationally-recognized research program in nutrition and chronic disease prevention and management. She will work collaboratively with faculty and graduate students from both UBC campuses, health professionals and researchers with Interior Health, and communities and health populations across the BC Interior. Dr. Purcell will also serve as a national leader in nutritional interventions to prevent or manage chronic conditions.

Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi has been appointed the Foundations of Scholarship (FoS) and Flexible and Enhanced Learning (FLEX) Site Director for the Southern Medical Program (SMP), effective January 1, 2022. Dr. Golmohammadi is a public health & preventive medicine specialist and a Clinical Associate Professor with the UBC Faculty of Medicine School of Population and Public Health.

Dr. Golmohammadi completed his medical degree at Bandar Abbas School of Medicine and residency training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Alberta. Additionally, he completed the UBC Sauder School of Business Physician Leadership Program. Dr. Golmohammadi currently works as a Medical Officer with the BC First Nations Authority in Kelowna. Prior to this, he worked as a Medical Officer with Interior Health (IH) for six years. Dr. Golmohammadi has served as the Training Site Director for preventive medicine for IH, Chair of the Academic Advisory Committee for Public Health at IH, FLEX project supervisor for SMP, and a member of Faculty of Medicine Clinical Faculty Affairs Committee.

In his new role, Dr. Golmohammadi will provide leadership and organizational responsibilities for the MEDD 419, MEDD 429, and MEDD 449 courses at the SMP. He will work in collaboration with the SMP leadership team and Directors from the Vancouver-Fraser Medical Program, Island Medical Program, and Northern Medical Program.

UBC Southern Medical Program student Brayden Fishbook was en route to Chilliwack for a family practice elective when he found himself stranded due to the province’s catastrophic atmospheric river event.

Leaving Kelowna Sunday afternoon on November 14th, he opted for the Hope-Princeton route of Highway 3 as the Coquihalla Highway had been closed due a landslide.

When he arrived in Hope four hours later, traffic crawled through town as torrential rain poured down.

“I came across a hotel that was completely dark and quickly realized the entire town was without power,” says Fishbook. “Cars were parked at gas stations waiting for power to return and traffic was being diverted across the Fraser River as Highway 1 was now closed.”

Fishbook followed rerouted traffic towards Highway 7 and eventually came to a standstill due to another landslide. With Highway 3 also blocked, all routes in and out of the small rural community were closed indefinitely.

Southern Medical Program student Brayden Fishbook

Exhausted and resigned to his situation, Fishbook pulled over to the side of the road and spent the night in his car. “Fortunately, I had my sleeping bag, a pillow and some food I had packed for my stay in Chilliwack,” he says. “It wasn’t too cold overnight and I actually managed to get some sleep.”

“Wanting to make the most of my educational experience, I headed to the local hospital on Tuesday morning and offered to help wherever I could.”

In the morning, Fishbook returned to Hope and attended an emergency shelter at a local church to figure out his next move. Through family connections and a few social media callouts, he found a place to stay with a couple from Hope who opened their home and neighbouring cabins to stranded travelers seeking a place to stay and a warm meal.

“There was a lot of speculation and uncertainty about which roads would open and when people might be able to leave,” says Fishbook. “Wanting to make the most of my educational experience, I headed to the local hospital on Tuesday morning and offered to help wherever I could.”

The Fraser Health staff at Fraser Canyon Hospital connected Fishbook with Dr. Beth Watt, a Langley-based family physician and UBC clinical instructor, who was also stranded in Hope. Together, they were tasked with assisting non-urgent medical needs for travellers temporarily housed at the local high school shelter.

Throughout the day, Fishbook distinctly remembered the thunderous and almost constant sound of helicopters flying in supplies to the local airport and surveying roadways. Many evacuated travellers opted to abandon their vehicles in favour of privately chartered flights back to their homes.

On Wednesday morning, Watt and Fishbook worked out of a make-shift medical clinic that had been organized at the high school and spent the day assessing and assisting patients. An unusual learning environment from his fourth-year of training with the SMP based at UBC Okanagan.

“Dr. Watt used pieces of blank papers to write prescriptions and we worked with the local pharmacy to ensure patients could access an emergency supply of their medications,” says Fishbook. “For the most part, patients just needed to talk about their experience and trauma to help calm their nerves. But, we were also able to collaborate with local emergency response operations personnel to have more urgent cases flown out.”

“Brayden is an amazing student and really showed up to help people in need,” says Dr. Watt. “It was great to be able to work together to support the community in a time of uncertainty.”

By late Wednesday afternoon, Fishbook received word from family that Highway 7 was reopening. He jumped in his car and joined a line of cars waiting for any signs of movement. Around 6 o’clock, the line started trickling passed emergency road personnel and the cleared landslide area.

“I was extremely relieved to be moving and to have a definite travel plan,” says Fishbook. “When I finally arrived in Chilliwack, I realized how much tension I’d been carrying from the past few days and needed to decompress.”

Fishbook finally started his four-week elective on the Thursday, a few days late. His ordeal not only solidified his plans to pursue family medicine as a career, but gave him new perspectives.

“I certainly gained a deeper appreciation for rural medicine and disaster response management,” he adds. “I’m also truly thankful to my hosts who provided me and others food and shelter during a stressful and uncertain time.”

“Every day, through the support of our health authorities partners and the dedication of clinical faculty like Dr. Watt, UBC medical students are gaining exposure and skills in rural and remote medicine,” says Dr. Sarah Brears, Regional Associate Dean, Interior. “ These rich training experiences encourage our students to stay and practice in communities throughout B.C and respond in crisis when there is need.”

2021 Michal Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar: Dr. Christine Voss

Dr. Christine Voss

Dr. Christine Voss has received a 2021 Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) in partnership with Interior Health (IH) and the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM).

The CCDPM has partnered with IH and the MSFHR, as part of a new funding venture, to help advance clinical health science collaborations between IH and UBC Okanagan.

Dr. Voss’s work will focus on physical activity and the clinical management of chronic diseases in children living in rural and remote communities across the Interior Health region.

“The award allows me to pursue excellence in all aspects of my clinical research endeavors, ranging from partnership building with clinicians and patients, to training the next generation of health researchers,” says Voss, assistant professor with the UBC Department of Pediatrics and investigator with the CCDPM. “I am thrilled to receive a MSFHR Scholar Award and to partner with Interior Health for my clinical research going forward.”

The MSFHR Scholar Program supports early career researchers to establish independent research careers, develop research teams, and advance cutting-edge health solutions.

“Interior Health is extremely pleased to be a partner in funding for Dr. Christine Voss,” says Dr. Devin Harris, Medical Director, Quality, Patient Safety and Research, Interior Health. “In partnership with IH physicians and staff, her research will impact health and wellness for children and families in our region, and strengthen our research collaboration with the Southern Medical Program. Congratulations to Dr. Voss on this award for her achievements in research to advance health care.”

Voss and her research team will examine current practices and attitudes towards physical activity promotion and ultimately develop and implement new approaches to help children with chronic conditions lead more active lives.

For more information about the award and other award recipients, visit the MSFHR website.