Thursday, January 22, 2015

UNBC celebrates 10 years of Med School at the Prince George campus

It was a milestone moment ten years ago when UNBC launched the Northern Medical program and over the weekend, the Prince George University celebrated that decade of growth and achievement.

Ten years ago UNBC accepted its first students, trail blazers for the first medical school program to be provided outside of the Lower Mainland.

Last Friday a number of dignitaries, returning first year students and the current student body working their early years of the program, all gathered at the Prince George campus to celebrate the decade of growth for the program.

The introduction of the medical program has provided Northern Health with a blue print for the future of health care in the northern half of British Columbia. As graduates begin to seek out their first jobs in the medical profession, some are choosing to put down their roots in many of the communities served by the health service provider.

Since the program was launched UNBC has expanded its annual intake of students from 24 to 32 and has graduated seven classes since 2008. Once they leave the Northern Medical Program, graduates move on to two to seven years of medical residency and further training.

In a backgrounder from Friday's ceremonies, UNBC outlined that so far, about 30 per cent of those that have graduated from the program have settled into permanent practice in the North, with more than two-thirds in permanent practice serving in rural, remote and northern communities.

“Marking the first 10 years of studies in the North is a historic occasion for the region” ...  “Our goal of educating future physicians in the North, once considered an impractical dream, is now a fully-formed reality – one that is helping alleviate the chronic shortage of physicians throughout northern B.C.”  -- Dr. Paul Winwood, Vice Provost Medicine, UNBC and Regional Associate Dean, Northern BC, UBC Faculty of Medicine. 

UBC a partner in the Northern Medical Program heralded the last ten years with a review on their Faculty of Medicine website,  recognizing the shift in thinking that came with the development of the program.

With the first ten years having gone by in fairly fast fashion, Dr. Winwood at UNBC is looking forward to what the future will bring for the program.

“Training doctors is a long process; a large number of our graduates are still in residency or other postgraduate training,” ... “This is only the beginning. We are looking forward to our next decade and beyond.”  

More background on the Northern Medical Program can be found on the UNBC website

Former Prince Rupert resident Susan Luong outlined her experiences from the UNBC program for the Prince George Citizen, making note of the small number of students per instructor and the amount of support they receive from the medical community in the Prince George area.

The celebrations of last weekend received a full review from some of the other Prince George media outlets as well, highlights of that coverage can be found below.

CKPG TV-- Northern Medical Program celebrates a milestone
Opinion 250-- Northern Medical Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Prince George Free Press-- Northern Medical Program celebrates 10th anniversary

For more items related to studies at UNBC see our archive page here, more background on developments with Northern Health can be found here.

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