Medical student spaces doubling in Okanagan

Medical students can now complete their training in the Okanagan thanks to the Southern Medical Program (SMP) now underway at UBC’s Kelowna campus.

The program will be housed in the newly constructed Reichwald Health Sciences Centre – the result of a $32.7-million investment by the BC government. The facilities will accommodate 128 students, bringing the total number of medical students in the province to 1,152 and more than doubling the number of available spaces.

The state-of-the-art facility includes high-tech classrooms and lecture theatres networked with the other three medical program locations in Vancouver, Victoria and Prince George. It also includes small-group teaching rooms, teaching and research labs, administration and faculty offices and a human kinetics lab, part of the school of health and exercise sciences. Students will receive their clinical skills training at Kelowna General Hospital, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail, and other hospitals and health centres in 22 Interior communities.

As part of UBC Faculty of Medicine’s distributed undergraduate program, SMP students will spend the balance of their four-year MD program studying and training in communities throughout the BC Interior, having spent their first term in classes in Vancouver.

UBC President Stephen Toope says that the program “is teaching students using the best technology and learning resources available. Just as importantly, it will enable collaborative learning and interdisciplinary teaching opportunities for all of the health sciences.”

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