Since 2012, the college’s Regina campus, based at the Regina General Hospital (RGH), has been home to approximately 120 medical doctor students in years two through four of the program. In a little over a year, 40 of the 100 medical students entering year one of the program will be completing their entire medical degree based at the Regina campus.
“It’s something we’ve been building toward since we opened our Regina campus,” said Dr. Gill White, associate dean of the College of Medicine Regina campus. “Most recently, we’ve been planning and preparing faculty, staff and facilities support for this transition. We’re incredibly excited to soon have these future physicians take their full undergraduate medical training based in Regina.”
Currently, all 100 medical students entering the program complete their first year at USask’s Saskatoon campus, with 40 of them moving to the Regina campus as their base site to complete their MD degree starting in their second year. One of the main goals of offering all four years of the MD program in Regina is to attract more southern Saskatchewan applicants, which may improve local graduate retention rates. And, for this significant number of medical students each year, the disruption of transitioning to another site and campus while in the midst of completing their medical degree, will be removed.
With many medical education programs delivered from the Regina hospitals, having the support of the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is integral to the success of this change.
“The Regina Campus is a unique model for our province and we are proud of it,” said SHA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Susan Shaw, who trained in Regina. “Not only does hosting medical education in Regina bring new faculty and students to Regina, but doing so has also allowed us to create unique resources – such as the Dilawri Simulation Center – that fulfils medical education curriculum and is a resource to SHA staff ongoing training and preparedness to deliver patient care. Physicians in Regina, and southern Saskatchewan are very involved in teaching of medical students and we look forward to their further contributions for this additional cohort of students.”
Over the last 20 years, medical doctor programs across the country have been transitioning to a more distributed approach to medical training to better support the care needs of all Canadians while ensuring trainees have adequate access to a range of clinical learning opportunities. USask first- and second-year medical students get their education primarily at the two main campuses in Saskatoon and Regina, but third- and fourth-year students shift fully into clinical training at up to 40 different locations around the province.
“Having our learners train in many, varied locations throughout Saskatchewan is a win-win-win,” said Dr. Preston Smith, dean of the College of Medicine. “Medical students benefit from a greater number and range of learning opportunities across urban, rural, remote and Indigenous communities. Physicians and other care providers deliver improved care when learners are involved in their practices and at our clinics and hospitals. And Saskatchewan people are on the receiving end of this improved care.”
For now, work continues to ensure the Regina campus facilities and its faculty and staff team are prepared for the incoming first-year medical students in 2022. This includes increased involvement of medical faculty to teach more learners, as well as space and equipment needs to support teaching requirements for first-year medicine.
“We’ve got a really committed team here ready to support these learners and we can’t wait to welcome the first ever cohort of first-year medical students to the College of Medicine Regina campus at RGH in August 2022,” White said.