Keeping things local, two recent graduates of the Island Medical Program who are Vancouver Island born and raised are now undertaking their residencies in Comox at the Strathcona Family Practice.
“I grew up in Black Creek and my family still lives there so it’s great to be back,” says Tyler Falk. “I am also excited to work in family practice which gives me the opportunity to be more of a generalist and work in a variety of areas. I definitely hope to live and practise medicine in the Comox Valley.”
The UBC Faculty of Medicine has spent the past decade transforming medical education in BC by increasing the number of doctors in training, and placing these trainees in communities where doctors are needed most.
Three new postgraduate residency programs on Vancouver Island, including the new Strathcona Family Practice site in Comox, as well as the residencies in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine (located at Island Health facilities) are the latest examples of how this vision is being fulfilled.
These new programs follow a number of other postgraduate medical residency programs established on Vancouver Island in just over a decade.
Glenn Keyes is also a medical resident at the Strathcona Family Practice site. Growing up in Victoria, the Island Medical Program was a good fit and he liked the idea of staying on the Island for his residency and working in a smaller community.
“I liked the way this program was designed, it allows me to get hands-on with patients across a number of different disciplines,” says Keyes. “The community has been so supportive as well — they have really opened their arms to us.”
Both Falk and Keyes noted that a family practice in a smaller community gives them the opportunity to get to know their patients better and to follow them through their care needs.
“Every day is different,” says Keyes. “In one day last week I saw a patient in psychiatric care, assisted in surgery, helped deliver a baby and worked with the paediatrician; you might not get this breadth of experience in a busy urban centre.”
At present there are over 100 postgraduate medical residents training on the island, more than double the number in 2004 when the UBC Faculty of Medicine began expansion of medical education in B.C.
“These postgraduate training programs not only offer an opportunity for graduates of the Island Medical Program to continue their medical training on Vancouver Island, they also attract recent graduates from other programs,” says Dr. Oscar Casiro, Regional Associate Dean, Vancouver Island, UBC Faculty of Medicine. “I am confident that many of these Island-trained physicians will settle in our region to provide much needed primary and specialist care.”
— Vancouver Island Health Authority