Posted June 22, 2012
Albertans will receive more access to primary health care thanks to 26 additional family medicine residents and 10 more family medicine teaching physicians at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine.
Through the expanded post-graduate family medicine residency program, Albertans will have access to more family physicians who will be part of primary health care teams. The additional teaching physicians will also see their own patients in addition to supporting the residents.
“Funding that we are providing to expand this program means that more family physicians will be trained in our province and more Albertans will have access to the health care they need,” said Fred Horne, Minister of Health. “Expanding the residency program is another step toward meeting our promise of every Albertan having a home in the health care system. That includes having access to a primary health care team.”
The additional positions expand the university’s first-year family medicine residency program to 84 residents. The students will spend their two-year family medicine residency at Calgary’s South Health Campus, Sheldon Chumir Health Centre, and Sunridge Family Medicine Teaching Centre.
“Our medical professionals are critical to our health care system,” said Stephen Khan, Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education. “That’s why we invested in more undergraduate seats four years ago, which is now translating into more residency positions today. We’re ensuring funding supports the full training of our medical students.”
The expanded family medicine residency program is the result of a $10.3 million grant from the Government of Alberta in 2011-12. The funding was used to expand training space and add teaching staff in preparation for the extra students, who start their residency training on July 1.
The grant was also used to increase training opportunities outside of Calgary for post-graduate specialty residents. The residents performed 332 weeks (a 97.6 per cent increase) of specialty rural rotations this academic year in communities including Lethbridge, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Yellowknife and Banff. The residents are in a number of specialty programs ranging from general internal medicine and emergency family medicine to general surgery and pediatrics.
“The expansion of the family medicine residency program increases the University of Calgary’s ability to offer medical student graduates an opportunity to train in and stay in our city. This hands-on experience will benefit Calgarians, and the community of southern Alberta”, said University of Calgary President, Elizabeth Cannon.
The work on this project goes back to 2007 when Dr. Joanne Todesco became Associate Dean PGME at UCalgary and recognized the need for new educational resources and funding in order to respond to the province’s need for more graduates in Family Medicine.
Todesco collaborated within the Faculty, AHS, and Alberta Health to procure the necessary funding and implement the expansion.
“My proudest moment was learning that we had filled every one of the extra positions with graduating medical students from across Canada,” says Todesco.