The first class of New Brunswick medical students to complete a four-year English language program in the province is being honoured Saturday in Saint John.

The program was launched four years ago as a partnership between the University of New Brunswick’s Saint John campus and Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University.

"My goal has always been to stay in New Brunswick," said Sheldon Wood, one of the graduating students. "My goal has been to actually stay in the Fredericton area as well.

"Both my wife [and my] family are in that area. So it's nice to be able to stay in the province, stay close to family, and train here as well."

The university started the program to help address the doctor shortage in New Brunswick. The New Brunswick Medical Society says 60,000 people in the province are on the waiting list for a doctor.

The program admits about 30 students a year. The graduating students will travel later this month to Halifax to receive their formal degrees from Dalhousie.