Warren Brock

Communications Manager

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


What: Free naloxone training and education workshop
Who: Southern Medical Program student, volunteers with Okanagan Naloxone Training
When: Monday, November 25 at 6 p.m.
Where: UBC Okanagan, Reichwald Health Sciences Centre, Room 260, 1088 Discovery Avenue

Ariel Smith, a Southern Medical Program at UBC Okanagan has seen first hand the impacts of the opioid overdose crisis on Okanagan communities.

During the height of BC’s public health emergency in 2016, Smith volunteered as part of the naloxone training team with Helping Out People Exploited (HOPE) Outreach—an organization that supports homeless and exploited women in downtown Kelowna and Vernon.

For a year and a half, Smith visited homeless shelters and downtown locations. There, using naloxone kits, she trained some of the most vulnerable populations how to prevent opioid overdoses and save lives. Naloxone, if used promptly, can reverse the effects of an overdose from narcotics such as fentanyl or OxyContin.

While volunteers made great strides in education and training in the downtown cores, Smith quickly realized the general public was still largely unaware of the risk factors and how they could potentially help in an emergency.

“Through conversations with family and friends, I recognized a huge knowledge gap still existed in our community,” says Smith. “Especially, considering the majority of opioid overdose deaths in BC happen to people living inside a private residence.”

Now in her second year of studies at UBCO, Smith recently launched Okanagan Naloxone Training as part of the Faculty of Medicine’s FLEX (flexible and enhanced learning) course.

In partnership with HOPE Outreach, Smith offers free naloxone training sessions to people, businesses or volunteer organizations in the Okanagan.

“There is still a large stigma associated with opioids and naloxone training,” says Smith. “In our workshops, we create a safe learning environment for people to ask questions, learn to recognize the signs of an overdose and practice with real equipment.”

Smith is organizing an event at UBCO on November 25. Each participant receives hands-on training, a certificate of completion and a free naloxone kit. This event is free and open to public. To register email: hello@oknaloxone.ca.

For more information about Okanagan Naloxone Training, visit https://oknaloxone.ca.

Dr. Neil Hanon has been appointed Clerkship Site Director, Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) for the Southern Medical Program (SMP). Dr. Hanon is the Department Head of Psychiatry at KGH and Clinical Assistant Professor with the UBC Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Hanon completed his medical degree and residency with the University of Alberta. From the early beginnings of the SMP, Dr. Hanon led the development of the psychiatry rotation for third-year students at KGH. Since 2008, he has served as a Discipline Specific Site Leader for the SMP and an excellent preceptor for UBC medical students and residents. Dr. Hanon was recently recognized for his contributions to UBC with the Faculty of Medicine’s 2018 Clinical Faculty Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching.

At this time, the SMP would also like to thank Dr. Vincent Arockiasamy for his dedication and contributions to the continued growth of the Kelowna Clerkship Program. Dr. Arockiasamy will continue his work with the Faculty of Medicine in his new provincial role as Director, Student Assessment.

Southern Medical Program Student: Darren Guenther, Class of 2021
Research Supervisors:
Drs. Delia Sauciuc and Siavash Atrchian, BC Cancer – Kelowna

What’s your research about?

Esophageal and esophageal junction cancers are some of the most rapidly increasing causes of cancer death worldwide. While longer wait times from diagnosis to treatment increases the theoretical risk of cancer related complications, previous research on wait times in esophageal cancer is sparse.

Furthermore, the small amount of research on this topic may underestimate the negative impact of long wait times. Consequently, the current study investigates the relationship between wait time and survival via a retrospective chart review of esophageal cancer patients treated at BC Cancer. Apart from determining the effect of wait time on survival, the study also explores the effects of wait time on other important cancer related outcomes, such as: treatment completion rates, cancer recurrence rates, surgical outcomes, pathological findings, and usage of PET scans for staging.

What’s the potential impact?

This project aims to provide a better understanding of the effects of wait time in esophageal cancer survival outcomes. Currently, certain jurisdictions worldwide have established guidelines regarding maximum wait time from diagnosis to treatment. However, no such guidelines exist in BC. As such, the question remains uncertain whether setting maximum waiting times is necessary or valuable for patients with esophageal or esophageal junctional cancers. By further understanding the effects of wait time on survival outcomes, local healthcare administrators will be more informed when creating policies such as maximum wait times. Ultimately, we plan to publish our findings with the hope that empiric evidence will guide medical professionals everywhere as they seek to provide optimal care for their patients.

Thanks to the Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation for supporting this student research project. 

Drs. Taran Main and Ashandeep Sandhu, recent Southern Medical Program (SMP) graduates, are the 2019 recipients of the BC College Family Physician’s Medical Student Scholarship. The annual scholarship is awarded to two fourth-year medical students entering UBC’s Family Practice Residency Program.

Nominated by Dr. Marjorie Docherty, SMP Clerkship Site Leader for Rural Family Practice, both graduates were recognized for their advocacy and passion for family practice. Dr. Sandhu is currently completing her first year of residency with the Abbotsford-Mission family practice site and Dr. Main with the Rural Okanagan site in Kelowna.

I am honoured to have been selected to receive the BCCFP medical student scholarship and humbled to have the nomination come from Dr. Marjorie Docherty. I am also excited that the co-recipient was a fellow Kelowna graduate!  Family medicine, and more specifically addictions medicine, has always had a special place in my heart, and I look forward to continuing my training in Kelowna.

– Dr. Taran Main

I was fortunate that I knew early on that I was interested in pursuing a career in family medicine. Therefore, I was able to get involved in a variety of clubs and activities, which helped further enrich my family medicine experience. It’s an honour to receive this scholarship and I am very grateful to Dr. Docherty for the nomination.

– Dr. Ashandeep Sandhu

Sarah Hanson, Program Coordinator for the Faculty of Medicine’s Integrated Community Clerkship Programs is now certified as a Canadian Medical Education Administrator (CMEA) with the Canadian Administrators in Medical Education Operations (CAMEO). Based at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Hanson has supported and advocated for ICC programs in Vernon and across the province since 2011.

Hanson successfully demonstrated the skills, knowledge and experience for the CMEA certification, which is centred on the Royal College CanMEDS competencies for administration. She was also acknowledged by the organization for her pursuit of life-long learning and professional growth.

“The process of obtaining my CMEA has allowed me to reflect on and honour the work that I do,” says Hanson. “I am very fortunate to be involved in medical education and work with amazing colleagues across the province.”

Dr. Jared Baylis has been appointed Medical Education Simulation Lead, Interior for the Southern Medical Program (SMP). Dr. Baylis is an emergency physician at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH), Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine, and Medical Director for Simulation with Interior Health.

Dr. Baylis completed his medical degree at Queen’s University and residency with the Royal College Emergency Medicine Program in Kelowna. Additionally, Dr. Baylis has completed a simulation fellowship with the Centre of Excellence for Simulation Education and Innovation in Vancouver. Throughout his training, Dr. Baylis has served as a preceptor for SMP students and UBC residents training at KGH. He has facilitated emergency medicine simulation sessions, co-led ultrasound and procedure workshops, and supported UBC curriculum development province-wide for the Royal College Emergency Medicine Program.

As the new Simulation Lead, Dr. Baylis will develop, coordinate and oversee simulation activities within the SMP and UBC residency programs in the BC Interior. He will also work in close collaboration with Simulation Leads from the Island Medical Program, Northern Medical Program and Vancouver-Fraser Medical Program for the Faculty of Medicine.

The Southern Medical Program is hosting an evening information session for prospective applicants to the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s MD Undergraduate Program. Learn about the admission requirements, application process, and how the program is training the next generation of physicians for our province.

The event will be held on Wednesday, November 27th from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in the Reichwald Health Sciences Centre at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Presenters include Dr. Shahin Shirzad, Assistant Dean, Admissions, UBC Faculty of Medicine and current Southern Medical Program students.

(Please note registration is now closed as the event is full)

For more information, please contact Carri Folk, Student Affairs and Admissions Coordinator, Southern Medical Program at carri.folk@ubc.ca or 250.807.9576.

The UBC Faculty of Medicine has recognized two Southern Medical Program (SMP) faculty for their contributions to medical education in the BC Interior.

Dr. Elizabeth McCoid, Clinical Instructor with the UBC Department of Family Practice is the recipient of the 2019 Clinical Faculty Award for Excellence in Community Practice Teaching. As Site Director for the Trail Integrated Community Clerkship (ICC) program, Dr. McCoid is a positive force for the SMP in the Kootenay Boundary region. Over her expansive career, she is known for her compassionate patient care and availability to students and residents.

Dr. Josh Williams, Clinical Assistant Professor with the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine is the recipient of the 2019 Clinical Faculty Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching. Dr. Williams is highly regarded for his innovative teaching style and genuine commitment to medical education. Dr. Williams played an integral role for the SMP as an inaugural Clinical Skills Course Director and currently serves as the Associate Program Director for the Royal College Emergency Medicine residency program at Kelowna General Hospital.

The Southern Medical Program invites you to attend an Open House to meet Dr. Sarah Brears, Interim Regional Associate Dean, Interior and discover more about the new Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM). Led by Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis, the CCDPM is the first Faculty of Medicine Research Centre outside the Lower Mainland.

October 7, 2019 | 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Opening remarks commence at 2:30 p.m.

1088 Discovery Avenue, Kelowna
Reichwald Health Sciences Centre, UBC Okanagan

Please RSVP to kristy.verigin@ubc.ca by October 1, 2019.

The Southern Medical Program is pleased to welcome our newest cohort to the UBC Faculty of Medicine. Meet some of our new students from the SMP Class of 2023.

Samantha Erron Gibbon

Hometown: Edmonton

What inspired you to pursue medicine?
I decided to pursue medicine after years of fascination and love for the human body and the birth of my siblings inspired me to improve birth outcomes for Indigenous women and children. I’ve been interested in science and knew I wanted to be a scientist since kindergarten, but my early undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta were formative of my passion for medicine and specifically for mitigating the social determinants of health in Indigenous communities.

What are you looking forward to most this upcoming year?
I’m most looking forward to exploring the beautiful territory that UBCO occupies, and I’m excited to get to know and become a part of the SMP family. I also especially look forward to learning more about fetal development, pregnancy, and birth.

Best piece of advice
Be the change you want to see in the world. Waiting for others to initiate solutions to the problems you face in your community only results in wasted opportunity and contempt; if you feel the passion and motivation to improve your community, act on in! Just ensure your respect, consideration, thoroughness, and safety never waver.

First job
I was a pottery teacher!

What’s next on your BC bucket list?
The next items on my BC bucket list are to swim in the Okanagan and to ski Big White.

Kyra Huston

Hometown: Cranbrook, BC

What inspired you to pursue medicine?
Many experiences and people have inspired me to pursue medicine. Mostly, the experiences my family members and I have had with healthcare in a smaller center and seeing the impact that one family doctor can have on an entire community.

What are you looking forward to most this upcoming year?
I am most looking forward to exploring the new cities I’ll be living in and being able to look back and see how much I have learned during my first year of medical school.

Best piece of advice
Stop comparing yourself to others and start recognizing what you bring to the table.

First job
My first job was in the pro shop of a golf course between Cranbrook and Kimberley.

What’s next on your BC bucket list?
Next on my BC bucket list is finding the best fishing spots in the Okanagan.

Greg Nixon

Hometown: Summerland

What inspired you to pursue your program?
My pursuit of medicine started when I was young with a fascination of anatomy and science. Having a father that was a veterinarian allowed me to see these things up close. This coupled with the opportunity for continued learning and to help people in various ways cemented my desire to pursue medicine.

What are you looking forward to most this upcoming year?
I’m most looking forward to starting to learn about content that really interests me and I enjoy learning about.

Best piece of advice
My best advice for premeds – or anyone pursuing any goal – is to detach yourself from the competition. Being a premedical student was very stressful for me in my first couple years of university until I detached myself from the competition and just focused on myself. Volunteer in areas that you enjoy and have a passion for, not just because you think they will look good on an application.

First job
My first job was working at a boat rentals and teaching people how to wakeboard. I enjoyed this job so much I worked there until the summer before I got into medical school.

What’s next on your BC bucket list?
The next thing on my BC bucket list is to do a road trip to Northern BC to see the Northern lights.

Peter Singh

Hometown: Surrey

What inspired you to pursue medicine?
With initial aspirations of becoming a math teacher in my freshman year, I took time away from school due to my father’s battle with ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease). His progression through the disease was rapid and unrelenting. Just two months after his death, my mother had her own cancer scare, which meant over a period of 18 months I was exposed to many facets of the healthcare system. These included those that worked well and those that didn’t, wonderful assistance programs and those that gave us grief, and most importantly, the doctors who valued what my father said even when he couldn’t speak. Having returned to school and proven myself academically, I believed I also possessed the charisma to pursue medicine as a way of righting the wrongs that were bestowed upon my parents, and furthering social and environmental advocacy. I believe SMP gives me the smaller group setting, more intimate relationships with faculty, along with a family network in the Okanagan to support me in my endeavors.

What are you looking forward to most this upcoming year?
I look forward to a new challenge. Not just moving to a new city after 7 years in Vancouver, but finding new hiking trails and winding roads for cycling.

Best piece of advice
Not my words, but they have stuck with me ever since I saw this speech as a kid on YTV. Knee surgery means I don’t run either now but any sort of cardiovascular exercise will do!
“The keys to life are running and reading. When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will learn how to not quit when things get hard in your life. For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There’s no new problem you could have–with your parents, with school, with a bully. There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about it in a book.” ― Will Smith

First job
In the summer before grade 12, I was 1 week into volunteering at a summer soccer camp for kids when one of the camp counsellors had a breakdown and quit on the spot. A few minutes later, I got a call from the regional coordinator asking if I was interested in joining. When I asked for my starting date, he said in 5 minutes and to email my resume that night as a formality. Turns out there wasn’t much soccer, it was mostly just a glorified daycare but it taught me that a Monday to Friday 9-5 is not a joke. I think I got Staff of the Year the following summer because of genuine shock I actually returned!

What’s next on your BC bucket list?
Not strictly BC, but my next goal is to drive/camp in my SUV all the way to the Arctic Ocean. This involves traversing much of BC before dipping my toes in the frigid Northern waters.