Volume 12, Number 10 January 21, 2005

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B.C. boosts doctor ed

PRINCE GEORGE – The government of British Columbia has announced it will invest $27.6 million over 4½ years to expand and upgrade academic space in teaching hospitals around the province to support a growing number of undergraduate and postgraduate medical students.

Premier Gordon Campbell made the announcement here Jan. 12 where the University of Northern British Columbia has just welcomed the first students in a Northern Medical Program. A similar program at the University of Victoria, the Island Medical Program, opened its doors to its first 24 students the same day. Both are associated with UBC’s faculty of medicine.

The government money will go to clinical facilities throughout B.C. for renovations and upgrades to academic spaces. By 2008-09, the province expects to have 96 students studying in each of the Northern and Island medical programs and 704 in the Vancouver-Fraser medical program, with all receiving UBC medical degrees upon graduation.

Family Medicine site gets new name

SASKATOON – The new primary health centre being created through major renovation to the former Saskatoon Union Centre on Fairlight Drive has been given a name.

The stakeholders in the project, including the U of S Board of Governors, have approved ‘University of Saskatchewan and Saskatoon Health Region West Winds Primary Health Centre’ as the name.

There had been some concern about confusion with the Saskatoon-based charter airline, West Wind Aviation.

The U of S Family Medicine Department will occupy the new integrated facility, along with the Health Region.

SFU launches campaign

BURNABY – Simon Fraser University has embarked on a $125-million fundraising campaign to strengthen its research capacity, enhance recruitment of internationally prominent faculty and students, and build new facilities.

An SFU news release said the Reaching New Heights campaign will contribute to capital projects like a new home for the school of contemporary arts and graduate school of business, better athletic and recreation facilities, new space for the institution’s art collection and a multi-faith centre.

Having been in a quiet phase since 2000, the campaign has already generated $80 million, with the final goal expected to be reached by late 2006.

Whiz kids to get in

BURNABY – Simon Fraser University has announced it will guarantee admission to almost all programs, space in campus residences and priority course access to high school students with an 80-per-cent average.

In a news release, SFU also announced $3,500 entrance scholarships for high school applicants with a 90-per-cent average. The announcements are part of the University’s nationwide student recruitment campaign called You Have our Guarantee. It is designed to dispel the myth that an 80-per-cent average is not high enough to even apply to SFU, according to the dean of student services.

He also hopes it will erase the school’s previous reputation of having little student housing. New residences opened in 2004 will accommodate 470 first-year students with that number climbing to 720 by early 2005.

U of A hikes tuition

EDMONTON – The University of Alberta Board of Governors has approved a 5.75 per cent increase in tuition for Canadian students in an effort to address a budget deficit of about $4 million.

According to the University’s news service, there was heated debate over the increase. Speaking to reporters Jan. 14, the chair of the board described it as “a melancholy day”. Carl Amrhein, the Provost and Vice President Academic explained that in 1981-82, provincial government support was $10.40 for every $1 of student tuition. That support has declined to $2.21 from government for every $1 from students. At the same time, enrolment at the U of A has grown by about 8,000 students.

In preparing its budget, the University is assuming a four per cent increase in government support but still anticipating a deficit of about $4 million. The U of A also reports a deferred maintenance price tag of $600 million and utility bills of $35 million by 2007-08 compared to $15 million in 1999-2000.

Tuition for international undergraduate students will climb to about $15,000 annually from about $11,000 this year.

U of S pulse crop lab gets more funding

SASKATOON – A new $3-million U of S pulse crop research lab construction initiative got two major injections of funding recently.

Jan. 18 it was announced that Western Economic Diversification Canada would contribute $750,000 to the facility being built as an addition to the crop science field lab near the corner of 108th Street and Preston Avenue.

On Jan. 11 the crop protection company BASF announced a $125,000 contribution to the project, the largest from a company so far.

U of M and army train doctor aides

WINNIPEG – The University of Manitoba and the Canadian Forces are teaming up to provide training for a Canadian Physician Assistant program that many see as a possible way of alleviating health care personnel shortages in Canada.

A U of M news release said the institution has received site accreditation to provide clinical training for Canadian Forces personnel involved in the Canadian Physician Assistant Program for Active Duty Canadian Military Students. That program has already received full accreditation from the Canadian Medical Association.

A Physician Assistant (PA) is a health care provider trained to lend a hand to their supervising physician in clinical situations including service at remote or isolated locations. Trained with the Canadian Forces, PAs provide a full range of medical care.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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