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Vol 38  No 9
February 2, 2006


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Memorial working on New Brunswick medical program

By Sharon Gray

Dr. Scott Moffatt is the project lead at Memorial on the New Brunswick development. (Photo by HSIMS)

New Brunswick plans to offer a full medical education program for English-speaking students in that province, starting in 2007. New Brunswick currently funds 10 positions for medical students at Memorial. Dr. James Rourke, dean of Medicine at Memorial, is involved in ongoing discussions to establish the expanded medical education program in that province.

The New Brunswick students, plus two students funded by PEI, help make up the complement of 60 undergraduate medical students accepted each year at Memorial. These students spend most of their first two years, called the pre-clerkship, in Newfoundland and Labrador. Dr. Rourke said there is an opportunity for New Brunswick students to spend some of their first two years of study in their home province through rotations in Community Health and Family Medicine.

“These students then have the opportunity of spending some, or almost all, of their third and fourth years ­ the clerkship ­ in clinical rotations in New Brunswick.”

Dr. Rourke said the New Brunswick government’s plan is to develop a medical education program that will allow all New Brunswick students to spend almost all of their entire four years in New Brunswick. The process and timelines to decide how this will be done have not yet been finalized.

“This has become a priority item involving visits from New Brunswick deputy ministers to both Memorial and Dalhousie,” said Dr. Rourke. “I recently made a site visit to New Brunswick with Dr. Scott Moffatt. He is from New Brunswick, a medical graduate of Memorial, and has practiced both in New Brunswick and is now a full-time faculty member at Memorial. He is now the project lead at Memorial on the New Brunswick development.”

On Jan. 18-19 there was a meeting in St. John’s of Dalhousie and Memorial representatives. Dalhousie representatives were Dr. Harold Cook, dean of Medicine; and Dalhousie’s medical education leadership team of Bruce Holmes, Susan Spence Wach, Dr. Jonathan Kronick and Dr. Sam Rowe. Memorial’s representatives were Dr. Rourke, Dr. Moffatt, Dr. Mary Wells, assistant dean of undergraduate medical education; Dr. Gerard Farrell, pre-clerkship co-ordinator; and Dr. Jenny Harris.

“We met to explore all possibilities and potentials with regards to the New Brunswick Medical Education project,” said Dr. Rourke. “The discussions were very positive. We agreed that there are major losses for either medical school if we are not involved with the medical education of New Brunswick students. We also agreed that the potential for combining our expertise and resources in working with New Brunswick presents a unique and exciting opportunity to develop medical education programs, resources and expertise for New Brunswick that will benefit all of Atlantic Canada in ways that would not otherwise be possible.”

Dr. Rourke said both universities recognize that this will involve an unprecedented commitment to partnership and collaboration. “We will be pursuing ways and means to determine how that might be possible over the course of the next weeks and months.”

Dr. Rourke added that the leadership at Memorial and Dalhousie medical schools are committed to working together in this development process. “We anticipate there is the potential for major benefits to the people of New Brunswick as well as to Memorial, Dalhousie, and our respective provinces.”

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