PRINCE GEORGE – The Province is moving ahead with planning for improvements to education facilities to support medical training at University Hospital of Northern British Columbia (UHNBC), as part of Budget 2012.

The improvements include a library and lecture space to enable small- and large- group learning for students and residents in the Northern Medical Program, a partnership created by the University of British Columbia, faculty of medicine (UBC) and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) to better meet the health-care needs of northern and rural British Columbians.

The project includes additional wireless network and videoconferencing technology that connect the hospital’s students, residents and staff with instructors and fellow trainees throughout the province.

The initial cost estimate is up to $10 million, with the final number to be determined once the business plan and tendering process are finalized.

The 128 undergraduate medical students in UBC’s Northern Medical Program spend most of their time in Prince George, at both UNBC and UHNBC. In addition, 30 residents in various specialties are based at the hospital year-round, along with several visiting residents from Vancouver-based specialty programs.

In March 2002, government announced an expansion and distribution of the UBC medical school. In addition to the Northern Medical Program, there are distributed medical programs on Vancouver Island (Island Medical Program), the Southern Interior region (Southern Medical Program) and the Lower Mainland (Vancouver-Fraser Medical Program).

Medical students in the distributed programs spend their first semester at UBC in Vancouver and complete their undergraduate education at academic campuses, hospitals and clinics throughout the province. All graduates receive a medical degree from UBC.