The new medical school planned at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus will have a dedicated family doctor training program similar to the one spearheaded at an Ontario university, B.C.’s post-secondary education minister told Postmedia News.
Critics, however, point out that family doctors won’t graduate from the new medical school until 2030, which won’t immediately help the approximately one million British Columbians without access to primary care.Selina Robinson confirmed B.C.’s second medical school, set to open in 2026, will include a program specifically focused on family and community medicine.
“It’s recognizing that we need to make sure we identify people who want to do family practice, who want to do team-based care, that we support their learning and that we get them into the community ASAP,” she said. The SFU family doctor program, Robinson said, is modelled after a new program at Lakeridge Health, a satellite campus of Queen’s University in Ontario, which this month launched the country’s first dedicated program for family medicine.
Most medical schools in Canada are four-year programs, after which graduates spend between two and five years completing their residency in the medical field of their choice. Under Lakeridge’s MD family medicine program, the 20 students enrolled in the program this year will work in primary care clinics as part of their education and are committed to becoming family doctors when they graduate.
The SFU medical school will also have a specific focus on providing care for Indigenous communities, she said. This is in response to concerns from Indigenous communities, especially in rural and remote areas of the province, that they have poorer health outcomes because of a lack of access to health care and systemic racism within the health system.