A first-of-its-kind pre-med program at Selkirk College aimed at encouraging students to pursue rural medicine has received $1 million from the provincial government and the Doctors of BC.
The funding will support the college to launch a new three-year program intended to provide more educational opportunities for rural and Aboriginal students interested in practising medicine in a rural setting.
“We recognize the challenges faced by rural communities in recruiting and retaining doctors,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “The new program at Selkirk College recognizes that people who have roots in rural B.C. are more likely to stay in those communities and this program is an innovative way to encourage rural students to pursue their interest in medicine.”
The unique curriculum weaves together courses tailored to practising rural medicine, such as small business management, with courses recommended for the Medical College Admissions Test and admission to medical school.
“As an ER physician who has worked for over a decade in a remote community, I understand the challenges and the rewards of rural practice,” said Dr. William Cunningham, president of Doctors of BC. “This initiative is one part of the work being done to bring long-term solutions to physician recruitment and retention. It shows how Doctors of BC is helping to make a meaningful difference in rural health-care delivery.”
The program will also provide opportunities for community placements and participation in rural health research projects. Students will also receive training aimed at developing skills such as mediation, self-awareness, resiliency, team building and leadership to support them throughout their careers.
“Our vision is to offer a comprehensive program that will prepare and support rural and Aboriginal undergraduates to apply to medical school, succeed in medical school and ultimately practice as rural physicians,” said Selkirk College president Angus Graeme.
The program will begin in September 2014 and prospective students can apply now. Each year, admission will be offered to 24 students.