This spring marks the 10th anniversary of UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Southern Medical Program (SMP). Based at UBC Okanagan, the program has produced more than 215 doctors who have gone on to serve in the B.C. Interior and beyond.
Launched in 2011, the SMP is one of four geographically distinct sites within UBC’s distributed medical education program. With sites in Victoria, Prince George and Vancouver-Fraser, as well as the Interior, the goal of the distributed program is to educate and train more doctors to meet the healthcare needs of communities across the province.
The program, created with government funding, is delivered in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority. SMP has over 1,500 clinical instructors who, at any given time, are teaching and training approximately 130 medical students and more than 90 resident doctors in hospitals and clinics throughout the area. The program facilitates community-based learning opportunities, preparing future health care professionals to administer culturally safe care and enabling them to become more compassionate and community-minded doctors.
“Today, more than 90 per cent of learners who complete both their MD and postgraduate medical training at UBC stay in B.C. to practice,” says Dr. Sarah Brears, Regional Associate Dean, Interior. “We have SMP graduates from a wide range of disciplines — including family medicine — now practicing in communities like Oliver, Kamloops, Golden and Williams Lake. The impact on students and the region’s communities has been incredibly positive.”
“The strength of the SMP is that students’ interaction with faculty, staff and clinical instructors is so much more personal,” says Dr. Michael Sean Gorman, an SMP clinical instructor in general surgery. “There are lots of opportunities for guidance and advice about the art of medicine. They come out of the program as well-rounded doctors.”.
The SMP gives students the opportunity to make a difference as doctors in local communities across B.C. Interior. “I am proud to serve the residents of the Interior because this is my home,” says fourth-year medical student Carlee Clyde. “I have many experiences in common with the people who live here — I hope to be the kind of compassionate, responsive doctor that every patient deserves.”
To read the full story, visit the Faculty of Medicine website.
Through Strategy 16: Public Relevance, UBC aims to ensure that the university’s educational and research efforts have a positive influence on communities in British Columbia and beyond.