Dalhousie University has announced a new position for its Saint John campus to train young doctors in occupational medicine, a move the New Brunswick government hopes will reduce the time injured workers are off the job.

The new, long-term research position was created to help graduates recognise, prevent, and treat workplace injuries.

The occupational medicine position is partly funded by private donations, including a $2-million donation from J.D. Irving Ltd.

The province kicked in $5.4 million and said it hopes the program will help cut back on the time people are in the hospital away from work.

Dr. John Steeves, associate dean of Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, said the university isn't looking to have a large population of occupational therapists when they graduate.

"I'm not so much concerned about them choosing occupational medicine as having them knowledgeable about how to appropriately manage patients they have who are in the workplace," he said.

The first person to take the helm will be Dr. Anil Adisesh, an expert in occupational medicine from the United Kingdom. Adisesh will hold the position for the next five years.

He said he plans on training medical students by inserting occupational medicine into their current course load.

"What I'm going to have to do there is look at how to integrate occupational medicine throughout the students' curriculum. And really that's better than having one single section that they study and then move on from," Adisesh said.

He said he hopes his expertise will rub off not just on students, but also other residents working at the Saint John Regional Hospital.