New residency training sites launched in B.C.

New doctors will have the opportunity to complete their entire postgraduate training in Kamloops

KAMLOOPS – New doctors will have the opportunity to complete their entire postgraduate training in Kamloops with the launch of a new family practice residency site based at Royal Inland Hospital and community clinics, Health Minister Terry Lake announced last week.

Also, a new emergency medicine residency training site in Kelowna is being launched, along with the Vancouver Coastal Health site for family practice residencies in North Vancouver.

“Training family practitioners here in Kamloops gives them an opportunity to discover this great region and they will hopefully return for their practice careers,” said Lake.

In July, the family practice residency site in Kamloops accepted its first six resident physicians: Drs. Paul Dickinson, Harpreet Ghuman, Quinn Hamilton, Robert McKeough, Elizabeth Montgomery and Brittany Weaver.

These doctors will complete two years of postgraduate medical training to meet the requirements of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. They will have the opportunity to work with a range of physicians and health professionals to master their technical skills, while developing strong roots in the community.

“These new residency programs are great news for families in B.C.’s Interior and Coastal regions, and will provide them with better access to medical care, closer to where they live,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “The programs also provide student doctors with an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and work in their communities.”

“The new family practice residency site in Kamloops will allow for more of our students to continue their training in the Interior and inevitably support the long-term recruitment and retention of physicians in our communities,” said Dr. Allan Jones, UBC’s faculty of medicine regional associate dean (Interior).

The expansion of the family practice residency program is part of a combined effort by the provincial government, health authorities, UBC faculty of medicine, and communities to support the recruitment and retention of physicians to serve the health-care needs of families throughout B.C.

“It’s important to be training doctors throughout the province of B.C.,” said Dr. Selena Lawrie, site director of the family medicine residency program in Kamloops. “The residency program not only helps to meet the needs of under-resourced communities, but sites, like Kamloops, provide an ideal training ground for young doctors.”

A professional medical community, like that found in Kamloops, exposes residents to diverse clinical settings and a wide variety of patient experiences over the course of their residency.

Over the past several years, UBC’s postgraduate training programs have continued to steadily grow, with over 1,400 medical residents presently engaged in 67 different postgraduate programs offered at more than 100 clinical training sites in every area of the province. This year, nearly all the residencies – a record number – are designated for family medicine, where the need is great.

“The continued expansion of postgraduate training in the Interior is a testament to our commitment to delivering timely, quality care to ensure better health care for all our patients,” said Norman Embree, Interior Health board chair.

2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the UBC MD distributed program.

Expansion of UBC’s medical school to the B.C. Interior has helped increase the annual enrolment of new medical undergraduates provincially to 288 – more than double the number of spaces from 10 years ago.

Medical students entering the Southern Medical Program, which began operation in September 2011, complete two years of undergraduate academic training at UBC Okanagan and the newly built, clinical teaching campus at Kelowna General Hospital. They transition to area hospitals and clinics for their third and fourth year, gaining essential hands-on clinical experience on their path to becoming a doctor.

UBC’s family practice residency training program is a two-year program that prepares new doctors with the skills and experience they need to become licensed family physicians. UBC’s family practice program is distributed throughout the province, involving 16 educational sites, where residents work with a wide range of physicians and health professionals to advance their technical skills, while learning about the unique health needs and lifestyle of the communities.