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Province of British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2022PREM0067-001809
Nov. 28, 2022
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training
New SFU medical school moves forward to train family doctors of tomorrow

SURREY – A new medical school on the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Surrey campus is taking a significant step forward with the hiring of an interim dean and provincial funding to support its development.

“While we have made enormous progress to strengthen public health care over the past five years, we know that many British Columbians are struggling to find a family doctor and waiting too long for care on a waiting list or in an emergency room,” said Premier David Eby. “That’s why we are taking action to train, recruit and retain family doctors now – and taking these steps with Simon Fraser University to train the health workforce we’ll need in the future. This investment in the first entirely new medical school in western Canada in 55 years will mean more family doctors graduating each year to provide care for people.”

A key action in the recently released health human resources strategy is to open a new medical school at SFU. As part of this plan, the Province is investing as much as $4.9 million in startup funding to support activities such as accreditation, curriculum planning, engagement, space planning and professional staff to support the SFU medical school project office.

In addition, SFU has retained an interim dean, Dr. Roger Strasser, who will provide strategic leadership in the planning and implementation of the medical school. Strasser was the founding dean and CEO of the Northern Ontario school of medicine and is a recognized leader in the development of health professional education.

“I am excited to be part of the establishment of a second medical school, which is a huge step toward developing the infrastructure needed to train more doctors, so all British Columbians can access the care they need,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “The development of the Simon Fraser University medical school will help meet the growing demand for physicians in B.C. over the longer term and train the next generation of doctors.”

The new medical school curriculum will be built on four pillars:

  • Educate graduates who are well prepared to provide the prevention and primary care needs of diverse communities and populations.
  • Educate physicians to work in team-based primary care settings that are patient-centred and socially accountable.
  • Commit to reciprocal community partnerships in the development and implementation of the medical school.
  • Embed and equalize Indigenous knowledge systems.

SFU’s medical school will take a focused approach to primary care, based on the university’s strength in community engagement and strong partnerships with the First Nations Health Authority, the Fraser Health Authority, other provincial health authorities and the practice community. Reciprocity, cultural safety and humility will be embedded throughout the school, along with First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge systems and perspectives.

“We’re marking a major milestone today in our commitment to train the doctors of tomorrow as work to establish B.C.’s second medical school takes a significant step forward,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The new SFU medical school will create more opportunities for future doctors to learn, train and stay on to practise in communities throughout B.C. In turn, British Columbians will have increased access to highly skilled, dedicated doctors close to home.”

This new investment builds on $1.5 million provided to the university earlier this year by the Province to support the development of the business case. A project board has been established to oversee this work.

SFU is working toward its first student intake by September 2026. Establishing a new medical school at SFU complements the more immediate work the Province is doing to train, recruit and retain more family physicians to meet the challenges people in British Columbia are now facing.

This announcement builds on other actions to train and recruit more health-care workers in B.C., including 602 new nursing seats and 322 allied health seats added to public post-secondary institutions throughout the province and recruiting 9,000 people through the health-career access program.

The Province also recently announced a seat expansion at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) faculty of medicine to train more doctors in B.C. This includes 40 new undergraduate medical education seats and as many as 88 new residency seats at the UBC faculty of medicine, which will be phased in throughout the province beginning in 2023. The expansion will create more opportunities for students and resident doctors to learn, train and stay on to practise in communities throughout B.C.

Training and retaining new physicians is just one part of B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy. It’s also part of StrongerBC’s Future Ready Plan, which is making education and training more accessible, affordable and relevant to help businesses grow and prepare British Columbians for the jobs of tomorrow.

Learn More:

To learn about B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/health-care

To learn about SFU’s medical school, visit: http://www.sfu.ca/vpacademic/sfu-medical-school.html

 
Contacts:
 
James Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Jimmy.Smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Health
Communications
250 952-1887 (media line)
 
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training
Communications
250 508-5030 (media line)
 

 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 1
For Immediate Release
2022PREM0067-001809
Nov. 28, 2022
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training
What people are saying about the new medical school

Joy Johnson, president, Simon Fraser University (SFU) –

“SFU is excited about the progress we’re making with the Province, health authorities and Indigenous partners toward a new medical school. With today’s announcement, we’ve hit another important milestone on that journey. The new medical school will serve everyone in B.C. – particularly under-served populations – training the next generation of doctors in communities throughout the province.”

Dr. Roger Strasser, interim dean, Simon Fraser University medical school –

“With this new medical school, the Province of B.C. is demonstrating its commitment to a strong public health-care system that meets the needs of its diverse and growing population. I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to join SFU to help deliver on that vision.”

Sherry Sandhu, student, master of public health, Simon Fraser University –

“I am looking forward to contributing to the health-care system in B.C. It means a lot knowing that there will be more options close to home where I could stay in my community while pursuing my goals. I want to help and work in public health. I like the community here at Simon Fraser University and it’s very exciting and promising that I may have the opportunity to do this right here in Surrey at SFU.”

Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley –

“A new medical school in Surrey will ensure we are expanding our ability to train the next generation of doctors to work right here in our community and others around the province. Simon Fraser University’s work to begin the hiring of professors, consultations, and business-case planning puts this project on a solid path forward.” 

 
Contacts:
 
James Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Jimmy.Smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Health
Communications
250 952-1887 (media line)
 
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training
Communications
250 508-5030 (media line)
 

 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER 2
For Immediate Release
2022PREM0067-001809
Nov. 28, 2022
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training
More about B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy

The new health human resource strategy includes four areas: retain, redesign, recruit and train. These are detailed below:

  • Retain: Government fosters healthy, safe and inspired workplaces by:
    • stabilizing and supporting the workforce
    • supporting the workforce’s health and wellness through:
      • occupational health and safety resources
      • violence Prevention Training and Framework Implementation
      • protection services officers
      • increased supports for health-care worker wellness
      • Employee Family Assistance Program
    • retaining staff in high need areas and occupations:
      • targeted provincial retention incentives
      • health child care strategy and pilot expansion
      • Provincial Peer Support and Mentoring Program
      • wage levelling in long-term care and assisted living
    • embedding reconciliation and cultural safety through:
      • provincial organizational standard for cultural safety and humility
      • Indigenous employee experience advisors and training
    • advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion through the provincial diversity, equity, and inclusion and gender-based analysis plus frameworks
    • increasing clinical leadership capacity to support staff and services
      • clinical management capacity building
      • clinical practice leader and clinical educator capacity building
    • increasing workforce engagement through the provincial Health Sector Work environment consultation, survey and policy
  • Redesign: Government aims to optimize and innovate B.C.’s health system by:
    • balancing workloads and staffing levels to optimize quality of care
      • workload standards
      • specialized work design teams
    • advancing innovation in team-based care
      • provincial health workforce innovation
      • team-based primary care training program
    • reviewing scopes of practice and create or optimize key roles
      • surgical and anesthesia nursing role development
      • associate physician deployment expansion
      • nursing and allied health role optimization
      • emergency medical assistant scope of practice expansions
      • optimize pharmacy services to support primary care
      • scope of practice policy review framework
    • leveraging technology to improve workforce satisfaction and service quality
      • virtual care and telehealth strategy
      • provincial artificial intelligence and health workforce technology strategy
      • human capital management system
    • increasing workforce flexibility and responsiveness
      • primary care network locum program
      • privileging process review
      • emergency health provider registry modernization
      • provincial travel resource pool
      • clinical exercise physiologist certification support program
  • Recruit: Government’s aim is to attract and onboard new health-care workers by:
    • removing barriers for internationally educated health-care workers
      • internationally educated allied health and nurse assessment and nurse re-entry support programs
      • BC provincial nominee program expansion
      • credential recognition process improvement
      • career paths for skilled immigrants program expansion
      • practice-ready assessment program expansion
    • refreshing enablers and incentives to attract new health workers
      • Provincial Health Sector Housing Strategy
      • New-to-Practice incentive program
      • integrated provincial recruitment supports
      • Indigenous leader recruitment and support initiative
      • Indigenous-specific recruitment strategy
      • recruitment incentives
      • Health and Care Careers Promotion program
    • improving onboarding and supporting transitions to practice
      • new graduate transition program
      • Provincial Primary Care Onboarding Toolkit
      • Recruitment, Onboarding and Employment Accessibility Framework
  • Train: Government is focused on creating accessible career pathways by:
    • strengthening employer supported training models
      • Health Career Access program
      • new employer-sponsored ‘Earn and Learn’ programs
      • cultural safety and humility training expansion
      • Health-authority-led training framework
      • Professional Development Opportunity Promotion
      • priority program bursaries
      • Employed Student Allied Health and Nurse program
    • expanding and modernize priority programs
      • post-graduate medical education expansion – University of British Columbia (UBC)
      • second Medical School – Simon Fraser University
      • Specialty Nursing Learning Pathways
      • Nurse practitioner program expansion
      • undergraduate medical education expansion – UBC
      • post-graduate medical education and re-entry program expansion
      • health information science training expansion
      • master of nursing in Indigenous health
      • rehabilitation assistant program expansion
      • Rural Pathways to Health Education Program expansion
      • health education expansion implementation
      • student practice education capacity building
 
Contacts:
 
James Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Jimmy.Smith@gov.bc.ca
 
Ministry of Health
Communications
250 952-1887 (media line)
 
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training
Communications
250 508-5030 (media line)
 

 
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect