Friday, June 8, 2012


Health News

UBC Physicians Train Locally

Family Practice Training Program in Chilliwack only in FHA

Suggested by Melissa Carr, UBC/Handout photo


ver the past decade, the UBC Faculty of Medicine and partners across British Columbia have responded to the shortage of physicians by expanding medical education training programs, and distributing them to the island, the north, the interior, as well as the Lower Mainland.


In this photo, UBC medical student, Caylib Durand, entered a clerkship with Agassiz-based family physician, Dr. Wayne Phimister in September 2011. He’s shown here with patient, Henry Burrows, during routine medical rounds with Dr. Phimister at Chilliwack General Hospital.

The UBC Faculty of Medicine is training doctors in communities where, the hope is, our graduates will eventually practice. The Faculty is active at more than 80 sites around B.C. – in training health professionals, in research and in community-based health promotion.

In the health region served by the Fraser Health Authority, the Faculty is engaged in a growing range of teaching and research activities. Chilliwack is a Family Practice training site, with established teaching programs for residents and medical undergraduate students. Abbotsford is also a UBC training site. Surrey Memorial and Royal Columbian hospitals host clinical academic campuses, with academic practice rooms, seminar rooms and audio-visual facilities.

UBC’s relationships with Fraser communities continue to strengthen and evolve. They UBC presence benefits communities in various ways. Medical students provide hands-on health care for the region’s residents, and established health practitioners have increasing opportunities to teach, do research and grow professionally. In the long term, it is anticipated that many students who train in Fraser communities will choose to live and practice in those same communities.

Fraser Health Facts

From mid-2010 to mid-2011, about 1500 UBC students spent at least a part of their academic year in Fraser Health facilities or in community clinics or private practice sites in the Fraser.

More than 500 health professionals across the Fraser Health region devote part of their time to teaching UBC students.

The UBC Faculty of Medicine has been part of the Chilliwack community since 1990. About 3,700 square feet of space within the Chilliwack General Hospital is currently defined as academic space. The UBC program in Chilliwack draws on the expertise of specialists and family practitioners based in Chilliwack and nearby communities.

New and improved academic space is being created at Surrey Memorial Hospital as part of the SMH Critical Care Tower project.

The Clinical Academic Campus at Royal Columbian Hospital, New Westminster, includes a lecture theatre, seminar/ videoconferencing rooms, clinical practice rooms, on-call rooms for students, and access to the 45-seat RCH library and the provincial/UBC health data network.

Health professionals practicing in the Fraser region have access to UBC-sponsored in-person workshops as well as access to medical education videoconferences from Fraser hospitals.

UBC’s Faculty of Medicine in Chilliwack

UBC has conducted a Chilliwack residency program for family physicians in training since 1990. The program now takes in 16 residents, eight in their first year and eight in their second year of postgraduate residency, as they prepare for certification by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Residents are required to train with both family practitioners and medical specialists, and to undertake research.

The Family Practice residents make a significant contribution to the service offered by the 140-bed Chilliwack General Hospital. In addition, many residents stay in the community for an additional year, gaining experience in all aspects of professional practice in local doctors’ offices. Some senior members of Chilliwack’s medical community are alumni of the UBC residency program, and remain active as teachers for the next generation of physicians.

Chilliwack General also sees frequent rotations by UBC-affiliated residents who are training as specialists, especially in the field of General Surgery.

Building on the success of the Family Practice residency program, UBC established a medical undergraduate program in Chilliwack in 2004. Six third-year students live in the community for a year and are based in the office of a local family physician. They work in a variety of environments including the hospital and community clinics. UBC has taken the "integrated community clerkship" model that was piloted in Chilliwack and adapted it to five other communities in British Columbia, and medical schools in other Canadian provinces have also moved to this model.

UBC’s program leaders and coordinators work from office space at Chilliwack General Hospital. UBC shares the use of classroom and hospital library space with the Fraser Health Authority.

Through UBC’s health education programs, many Chilliwack-area health professionals take part in teaching and research on an ongoing basis. The UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Office of Continuing Professional Development provides additional opportunities to health professionals, offering workshops, videoconferences and webinars on topics of professional interest.

A Pioneering Program in Medical Education

Continuity of relationships with patients and instructors is the defining feature of the Community Integrated Clerkship, a form of medical education piloted in North America by UBC, starting in Chilliwack in 2004.

In Chilliwack, third-year medical students work for a full year in the community under the guidance of a local family physician. They meet some patients repeatedly – whether in the doctor’s office, the hospital, or a follow-up clinic. Through this ongoing contact they track the patient’s experience in the health care system, witness professionals making treatment decisions, and learn about how these decisions affect patients over time. This contrasts with conventional undergraduate training, which focuses on short rotations through a wide range of medical activities.

"The Chilliwack pilot showed that this model can deliver academic success," says Dr. Mark Mackenzie, a Chilliwack physician who now directs UBC’s clerkship programs province-wide. "It also succeeds in preparing students for residency programs. Once we could prove the model was sustainable, it was easy to start looking at other communities."

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