Keeping new doctors here

The South Okanagan is home to a new family medicine residency training site.

UBC and the province of B.C. have launched a new family medicine training site in the South Okanagan, marking the first time doctors in UBC’s Family Practice Residency Program can complete their entire residency in the region.

“We’re very excited to be welcoming resident physicians to the South Okanagan, a region that offers an exceptional training ground for young doctors,” says the site co-director Dr. Margie Krabbe.

In July, the new site accepted its first four resident physicians: doctors Jacqueline Bourdeaux, JoyAnne Krupa, Rebecca Psutka and Travis Thompson.

Working alongside local physicians and other health care providers, these doctors will complete two years of residency, or supervised training, to meet the requirements of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

“Residents play a very critical role in our health care system, helping to enhance service capacity across the province. The launch of this new training site in the South Okanagan will bring about increased access to physician services and help meet the needs of communities in B.C.’s Interior,” says Dr. Roger Wong, executive associate dean of education, UBC Faculty of Medicine.

During the two-year program, residents at the South Okanagan site will train at Penticton Regional Hospital, South Okanagan General Hospital, as well as community clinics in the region. They will be exposed to a wide variety of clinical experiences, helping to serve patient populations in Penticton and Summerland, as well as surrounding towns, like Oliver and Osoyoos.

For Thompson, who grew up in Oliver – less than an hour’s drive south of his new training ground – being able to join a newly-launched residency site so close to home is particularly exciting.

“When you come from a small town, you have a unique understanding of the needs felt by a community,” he says, adding he has plans to stay true to his small-town roots once he completes his family medicine training.

“I’m really passionate about doing my part to help underserviced communities, and I think being a smaller centre, the training site in the South Okanagan will help me to become a very competent rural doctor,” says Thompson.

The opening of the new residency site, which is expected to have eight residents in training by July 2017, is part of a combined effort by UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, the provincial government, health authorities, and communities to support the recruitment and retention of physicians to serve the health-care needs of families throughout B.C.

“By increasing opportunities for residents to complete their training and build strong community connections in the Interior, we’re hopeful more physicians will be interested in staying in the region to practice,” says Dr. Allan Jones, regional associate dean, Interior, for UBC’s Faculty of Medicine.

In addition to the new site in the South Okanagan, the Interior is already home to family practice residencies in Kamloops and Kelowna, an emergency medicine residency in Kelowna, and UBC’s Southern Medical Program, one of four unique physician training sites.

Over the past decade, UBC’s residency training programs—which accepted a record number of entry-level trainees this year—have continued to steadily grow. Today, nearly 1,400 medical residents are engaged in 72 different residency programs offered at clinical training sites across the province.

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