Even though the student recruits are still in residency or their five-year specialty training programs, Northern Health will soon start to see the program meeting the needs of families and communities of northern B.C., with members of the first graduating class completing their specialty residency training this year.
Along with those recruited by the NMP, Northern Health has also attracted 24 physicians since 2010, all of whom completing their residency programs in the north.
Northern Health says they will remain in contact with graduates of the NMP who have not yet reached the point of selecting a permanent residence, but expect many of those graduates to establish future practices in northern communities.
Dr. Charles Jago, Northern Health Board Chair, says that after being around for almost 10 years, the program is starting to see some results.
“Although the Northern Medical Program has been admitting students since 2004, we are only now beginning to see graduates settle in the region and begin to practice. As physicians complete their residencies and specialties, and as they take the time to determine where they want to practice permanently, we will begin to see more and more settle in Northern B.C.”
Northern Health says the program is benefiting the north even further than just training new physicians, as it also contributes to the recruitment of physicians from around the globe by providing not the only the opportunity to practice, but also to teach.
Cathy Ulrich, CEO of Northern Health, says that patients aren’t the only people benefiting from the program.
“Between the NMP and small community practice, physicians get to experience a very broad range of medicine. We have attracted physicians with these opportunities to get involved and to teach and learn.”
One specific community that has benefited from the program is Fort St. James, which was down to just one physician one year ago. Today, the city is nearing a full complement of five physicians.