The first 32 students in UBC’s Southern Medical Program inaugural class have arrived at the university’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna.
As part of the faculty of medicine’s distributed medical doctor undergraduate program, the students will spend the balance of the four-year program studying and training in communities throughout the BC Interior after spending their first term in classes in Vancouver.
“The arrival of our inaugural class is a momentous occasion,” said Dr. Allan Jones, regional associate dean, Interior. “A remarkable amount of work and collaboration has taken place to launch the SMP and expand the reach of the MD undergraduate program to all areas of the province. Ultimately, our program will help lay the groundwork for increasing the number of practicing physicians in communities throughout the B.C. Interior.”
The students will divide their study and classroom time between the new health sciences centre at the UBCO campus for academic courses and the clinical academic campus next to Kelowna General Hospital for clinical skills training, such as taking a patient’s medical history, conducting physical exams and effective communications skills.
Volunteer patients and patient actors are frequently used to simulate realistic training experiences.
Students will also work with real patients at family practice offices in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon and Winfield during weekly mentoring sessions.
Patients who participate play a key role in training future physicians by exposing students to the diversity and rewards of family practice.
In their third and fourth years, the students will begin their clinical training in a variety of rotations, such as surgery, emergency medicine, and rural family medicine.
The program’s clinical training is delivered at KGH, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail and at other hospitals and health centres in 22 BC Interior communities.
Graduates of the program must then complete residency training to become fully-licensed physicians.
The training, ranging between two to seven years depending on the speciality, is completed with either UBC or other medical education institutions across Canada, North America, and abroad.
The UBC faculty of medicine offers undergraduate medical education in four regions across B.C. The southern Interior medical progam, launched in Sept. 2011, is based at the UBCO campus and delivered in collaboration with clinical teaching sites throughout the Interior Health region.