A Northern Medical School planning committee is getting positive encouragement for the hours of work still ahead of them.
The program’s strategic planning committee held a community forum Wednesday to update and hear mayors, city councillors and health authority officials’ concerns on UNBC’s future medical program.
Many of the leaders offered support in the form of housing, transportation, vehicles and other support to doctors in training if they do practicum hours in northern communities.
The joint program with UBC’s medical school is set to enroll its first 20 to 24 students for September, 2004 but still needs a financial commitment from the province.
That support is anticipated after the joint UNBC-UBC committee prepares a cost analysis of the program and capital buildings needed to run it, and presents it to the province.
UNBC president Charles Jago says he expects the Liberals to support the project, based on their own election platform.
“The Liberals acknowledged the importance of what we’re doing,” he says.
A draft report is scheduled to go to the government in August, while the final report is due in December this year.
Those reports need to include curriculum for the program and define how students progress through the UBC, UNBC and rural parts of the program. The committee has narrowed the learning model intended to be as flexible as possible from 15 to four models.
Also up for discussion is how to designate spots in the program for northern students.
Dr. Jago says the committee is still looking at ways to do that, or if that may be necessary at all.
Once done students will graduate with a UBC medical degree, with an acknowledgment of their special training in rural and remote health.
UNBC is looking to approved an undergraduate degree, available at the beginning of 2002 for health sciences students. It’s thought that many of those students will be from the north and, if interested, automatically apply to the medical program.