Issue 3 2018

Pathways — the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s digital magazine — shares stories about learning, discovery and innovation that are making a difference in B.C. communities and around the world. Discover the impact of our global-leading health research and education.

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Better Health Through Partnership

One of Northern Health’s key strategic priorities is “A focus on our people.” It is through the dedicated physicians and staff who choose to practise in Northern British Columbia that we have the opportunity to improve the health and well-being of northerners.

As one of the first programs of its kind in Canada, the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s distributed medical education program, which includes the Northern Medical Program at the University of Northern B.C. (UNBC), is making a significant difference in recruiting and retaining physicians in rural British Columbia. Evidence demonstrates that health professionals tend to practise in the communities or regions in which they were educated, and we have found this to be true in the North.

The strength of the distributed medical education program in the North is built on vibrant partnerships between UBC, UNBC, Northern Health, the First Nations Health Authority, community leaders, and the northern physician community, and is dependent on the commitment of physicians across the North to engage in clinical teaching, student mentoring, and development in northern practice settings.

“The Northern Medical Program has been graduating medical students who have had the opportunity to learn in environments that expose them to full-scope primary care and interprofessional practice.”

Over the last ten years, the Northern Medical Program has been graduating medical students who have had the opportunity to learn in environments that expose them to full-scope primary care and interprofessional practice, while also deepening their understanding of rural living and the cultural traditions and needs of Indigenous peoples.

The advent of the Northern Medical Program transformed Northern Health in fundamental ways, including creating a more stable base of medical staff; attracting exceptional physicians with a passion for serving rural communities; expanding capacity for research and innovative practice; and impacting both the access to and quality of health service delivery.

Thanks to our partnership with the distributed medical program, Northern Health has truly been enriched and is better able to live the words of our vision, “Leading the way in serving northern and rural communities.” We look forward to many more years of fruitful collaboration with this outstanding program.

Cathy Ulrich

Cathy Ulrich

President and Chief Executive Officer, Northern Health


Story team:

UBC Faculty of Medicine Communications team — Katie White, Alison Liversage, Kerry Blackadar, Sarah Stenabaugh, Brian Kladko and Patricia Gray, with Warren Brock, Southern Medical Program, Sonya Kruger, Northern Medical Program and Rhys Mahannah, Island Medical Program.

Special thanks to our story partners for their support:

Steve Raper, Northern Health. Photography by Paul Joseph and Michael Bednar. Videography by Zachary Rothman, Stephen Gillis and Paul Milaire (MedIT Video), and Joel Thiessen (UBC Studios Okanagan). Design by Signals Design Group.

We would like to recognize and thank the Universities of Northern British Columbia and Victoria, as well as First Nation Health, Fraser Health, Interior Health, Island Health, Provincial Health Services Authority, Northern Health and Vancouver Coastal Health for partnering with us in expanding and distributing education and research across British Columbia.

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