24, 2002, Gazette)
Web portal launched
Education opportunities for rural physicians in Canada received a boost
Monday with the launch of a new Web portal at RuralMDcme.ca. The launch
was hosted by Memorial Universitys Office of Professional Development,
Faculty of Medicine.
We have concentrated on providing rural physicians with Canadian
content on the Web portal, said Fran Kirby, manager of the Office
of Professional Development. Rural doctors can take nationally-accredited
courses, access medical libraries and health-related web links, build
their own Web site, and discuss medical matters with others in their
field across the country.
Ms. Kirby said that given the shortage of physicians in Canada, it has
become increasingly important to entice and keep doctors in smaller
communities. Access to the Web portal provides rural doctors with
new professional development options to help balance the quality of
Newfoundland and Labradors Health and Community Services Minister
Julie Bettney attended the launch of the Web site. This site is
a good example of what can be done now to support our rural physicians
and help provide a sustainable quality of practice, she said.
I anticipate this type of service will assist us in retaining
these health professionals in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
Initially, the online courses are free and explore dementia/Alzheimers,
emergency medicine, telehealth, whiplash and back injuries, diabetes,
and hypercholesterolemia. Over time, we are planning to offer
more courses which should encourage greater involvement of rural physicians
in online continuing medical education, said Dr. Ean Parsons,
family physician and assistant dean for Continuing Medical Education,
Memorial University. The new Web portal is the starting point
for a broader online community for rural and remote physicians and specialists.
The Office of Professional Development worked closely with ZeddComm,
an IT consulting organization, to design and develop the Web portal.
We are delighted with the results achieved to date by our industry-leading
team of e-learning professionals, said Derek Sullivan, director
of business development for ZeddComm. RuralMDcme.ca represents
the initial step toward building a national online community dedicated
to physicians professional development. Subsequent phases can
fulfill this portals potential to grow to become a significant
tool for rural doctors.
The project began in February 2001 when Memorial University received
a financial contribution of $322,614 from Health Canadas Rural
Health Fund. Other partners in this innovative project include the University
of Calgary, the University of Ottawa, the University of Alberta, Pfizer
Canada, medical and government groups, and the private sector.