New Brunswick

Medical school at UNBSJ gets 5-year extension

The New Brunswick government committed close to $42 million Wednesday to ensure the continued operation of Dalhousie University's medical school at the University of New Brunswick Saint John campus for another five years.

New Brunswick government commits $42M to continued partnership with Dalhousie University and UNBSJ

Health Minister Victor Boudreau announced a five-year renewal of a deal with Dalhousie University to operate the medical school at UNBSJ. (Matthew Bingley)

The New Brunswick government committed close to $42 million Wednesday to ensure the continued operation of Dalhousie University's medical school at the University of New Brunswick Saint John campus for another five years.

The province will not change the structure of its deal with the two universities, but will match its previous financial commitment.

Health Minister Victor Boudreau said the government would pitch in around $42 million over the next five years. The money will go toward paying operating costs to Dalhousie University, which runs the program, rental space at UNBSJ, and providing student support and library services.

Dr. Jennifer Hall, the associate dean of Dalhousie medicine in Saint John, said it's unlikely the medical school would have continued without the provincial government's $42-million commitment. (Matthew Bingley)
Without the financial commitment from the province, the associate dean of Dalhousie medicine in Saint John, Dr. Jennifer Hall, doubted the program would continue

Hall said the medical school is a major enterprise "and requires a lot of resources, which we need the government of New Brunswick to provide."

Dalhousie began taking medical students in New Brunswick in 2010, the first of whom graduated in 2014.

120 students 

There are now 120 students enrolled at UNBSJ.

Each year, 30 students are admitted and all of those spots are reserved for New Brunswick residents.

Natalie Wallace will enter the program as a mature student this fall.

The Fredericton native said she had bounced around a number of careers before completing her bachelor of arts at UNB Fredericton last year. Wallace said she's ready to fulfil a lifelong dream by entering the medical school.

Wallace said the value of the Saint John campus is immense.

Natalie Wallace will enter the medical program at UNBSJ in the fall. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)
"I know that I would have made it possible" if the UNBSJ option was not available, said Wallace, but "It would have been a lot harder."

The program sees the first two years of studies completed mostly at the UNBSJ campus. In third year, medical students take on a clerkship done at hospitals or practices in Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Miramichi, and Waterville. The final year of the program has students take on an elective they can do outside the province if they choose.

Boudreau pointed to the province's hiring of five physicians last week as a sign of success with the Dalhousie partnership. Two of those physicians graduated from the program at UNBSJ

"It's good for our medical community, our medical system, and it's good for our students" said Boudreau.

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