UBC’s MD program is comprised of four geographically distinct sites including the Northern Medical Program (NMP), Island Medical Program (IMP), Southern Medical Program (SMP), and the Vancouver Fraser Medical Program (VFMP). There are 288 spots for incoming students, 32 for the IMP, NMP and SMP each, and 192 to the VFMP.
The Distributed MD undergraduate program aims to improve upon the low number of rural and indigenous students seeking medical careers, while also allowing students to complete their training in rural and underserved communities, where, as studies suggest, they are more likely to return to practice once their training is complete.
The Northern Medical Program (NMP) is based at the University of Northern BC in Prince George.
Clinical learning in the NMP takes place not only in Prince George but throughout the north. Rural and family medicine is a significant focus of the NMP, and the opportunities for independent learning are considerable.
NMP students benefit from many up-close, hands-on learning experiences not commonly found in larger programs, and receive tremendous support from the medical community, who are proud to be involved in training the next generation of healthcare professionals.
Two new integrated clerkships, one in Terrace, and a second in Fort St. John, offer students the opportunity to learn medicine in an innovative format. Instead of the traditional discipline-based rotations, integrated clerkship students spend their third year working in a community setting where they follow patients through in-take to discharge for any medical procedures they may require.
The Island Medical Program, based in Victoria, is delivered in collaboration with the University of Victoria.
Students gain clinical experiences across Vancouver Island, including the central island communities of Duncan and Nanaimo as well as north island locations, such as Campbell River, Comox, Port McNeill and Port Hardy.
The medical education experiences reflect the health-related challenges facing mid-sized urban communities, as well as smaller, remote communities which include both a large elderly and Indigeous population. The IMP blends state-of-the-art medicine, including access to all of the major specialties and most sub-specialties, with community medicine in smaller centres than those found in Vancouver.
The Southern Medical Program (SMP) is based in the Interior of British Columbia.
This program provides medical education opportunities outside of urban centres, allowing students to complete their training in rural and underserved communities, where, as studies suggest, they are more likely to return to practice once their training is complete.
Technology is a key component in the delivery of distributed medical education. The SMP is equipped with videoconferencing technology, linking the campus to the other distributed medical programs and to numerous teaching hospitals. Faculty members are able to conduct teaching sessions from any of these locations across the province, allowing students at all distributed sites to share interactive, simultaneous classes.
Clinical education in the Vancouver Fraser Medical Program (VFMP) is structured around traditional, discipline-based rotations in clinical settings throughout the Vancouver Fraser region. At clinical academic sites such as Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, and Royal Columbian Hospital, students gain exposure to all specialties and sub-specialties, and see a variety of patients and problems typical of large urban populations. Students also gain generalist experiences in smaller but busy hospitals throughout the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
The VFMP also provides innovative community-based education programs. The integrated clerkship in Chilliwack, BC differs from traditional rotating clerkships. Instead, students are based in a community clinic where they follow patients through the cycle of their treatment. In a single day a student could see, for example, patients with surgical problems, internal medicine complaints, as well as obstetrics. While the encounters are different, the learning objectives are the same.