Through knowledge, creating health
This phrase describes the vision of the UBC Faculty of Medicine and is the guiding principle behind the Island Medical Program, which was established, in partnership with the University of Victoria and the Vancouver Island Health Authority, as part of the distributed UBC MD Undergraduate Program to help increase the number of physicians in BC and provide medical education opportunities outside of large urban centres.
But the vision of the Island Medical Program goes beyond these four words. We strive to provide students with a medical education experience that reflects the health-related challenges facing mid-sized urban Island communities, as well as smaller, remote and coastal communities which include both elderly and Aboriginal populations. For this we draw inspiration and guidance from the many people and organizations who support medical education on Vancouver Island – the physicians who teach in communities all across the Island; the community members who, as volunteer or simulated patients, provide valuable assistance in the education of our students; and the individuals, foundations and associations whose generous donations help to support medical student scholarships and bursaries.
Hippocrates said “Life is short, science is long: opportunity is elusive”. Our vision is to educate a new generation of young physicians and turn the opportunity we have to improve healthcare on Vancouver Island from elusive into a reality.
UVic Photo ServicesPhotograph: This tree, located near the Medical Science Building at UVic, grew from a seed of the plane tree under which Hippocrates taught medicine on the Island of Cos, and was planted by Dr. William Gibson, a dedicated advocate for the IMP. Read more about Dr. Gibson on the Our History page.
Message from the Regional Associate Dean
On July 1st, 2014 I began a new journey as the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Regional Associate Dean for Vancouver Island. I am following in the footsteps of Dr. Oscar Casiro, who served as the Island’s inaugural Regional Associate Dean from 2004 to June 30, 2014. Dr. Casiro was an exceptional leader who worked tirelessly to expand both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education on Vancouver Island. Thanks to his vision, determination and commitment, I step into this position knowing that we have a strong foundation on which to continue to build first-rate medical education programs in this region.
My own background is as a family physician (specializing in geriatric medicine) and as an educator. I come from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, where I served in various capacities for over twenty years, most recently as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education (since 2006) and as Professor in the Department of Family Medicine. I also have an interest in international medical education and act as a consultant on curriculum development projects in developing countries such as Tajikistan, Tanzania, Nepal and Laos.
I take over as Regional Associate Dean as we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the expansion and distribution of the UBC undergraduate medical program, which led to the creation of the Island Medical Program (IMP) and the Northern Medical Program (NMP) in 2004. The long-term strategy behind distributed medical education in BC, the first of its kind in Canada, was to help address shortages of physicians, particularly in medium-sized, small and rural communities such as those on Vancouver Island. A decade later, evidence is mounting that the strategy has been a success. On Vancouver Island, graduates from the IMP are returning to practice medicine in communities such as Duncan, Nanaimo, Comox and Campbell River. In addition, with the introduction of new postgraduate medical training programs in our region over the past ten years, more IMP graduates can now choose to remain on Vancouver Island to complete their medical residencies, increasing the likelihood that they may settle in Island communities as practicing physicians. For those who are interested in the numbers that support these claims, I encourage you to see page 3 of our Summer 2014 newsletter.
Over the coming months I look forward to getting to know the “IMP team” – our dedicated faculty, education leads and the administrative staff who help make this program function on a daily basis. I also look forward to meeting with many others who have contributed to the success of the IMP so far, including representatives from our partner institutions (University of Victoria and Island Health), Vancouver Island physicians, community members (volunteer patients, standardized patients and clinical teaching associates) and our generous donors. And last, but by no means least, I am excited to get to know our IMP student cohort and the many medical residents who are training on Vancouver Island!
Bruce Wright, MD, CCFP, FCFP