Rural Pre-Medicine Students Off to Great Start

Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues Stops by Castlegar Campus


The first class of students in the Selkirk College Rural Pre-Medicine Program have begun their journey towards a life in health care and last month received a boost when a group of veteran physicians visited to the Castlegar Campus to provide encouragement.

In mid-September, the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC), a collaborative committee made up of the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC, was in the region for a regular meeting. Earlier this year, the JSC provided the new Selkirk College program with $1 million in funding support. Several members of the committee took the opportunity to meet campus leadership, faculty and the 17 students in the first cohort and tour the campus.

Rural Pre Med Launch

The first Selkirk College Rural Pre-Medicine Program class gathered for a group photo with faculty, Selkirk College administration and the representatives from the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues that toured the Castlegar Campus in mid-September.

“It’s a big day and it’s humbling insomuch as we are seeing students of rural origin being educated close to home in their communities that understand their needs, their wants, their desires but also their aspirations,” said Dr. Alan Ruddiman, an Oliver-based physician and Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues co-chair.

“When we look at growing the talent locally, our investment as rural physicians in the province, the Doctors of BC, our medical association and particularly the provincial government understands that we need to look at different models of how we raise, train and support doctors in British Columbia because we are really struggling to recruit doctors to rural communities and keep them there.”

After nearly two years of study and preparation, the college launched the Rural Pre-Medicine Program last November. Based out of the Castlegar Campus, the program is geared towards addressing the rural doctor shortage across Canada and offers students the opportunity to learn in the intimate setting of a community college with unique course selections.

In creating this program, Selkirk College worked closely with the UBC Faculty of Medicine, the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (a working entity of the JSC that develops and supports strategies to improve population health in rural communities), the Native Education College, the Interior Health Authority, Columbia Basin Trust, local physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and other health care providers.

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Learn more about the Selkirk College Rural Pre-Medicine Program and join the program on Twitter.