PRINCE GEORGE- Medical students in the North are one step closer to having a new educational facility, with the official start of construction on the Learning and Development Centre at the University Hospital of Northern BC in Prince George.
"This centre serves as an investment in jobs and skills training here in the northern region," said Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount. "Construction will create 65 direct jobs for people. Once built, the learning centre will help continue to attract medical students to the region and function as an innovative and high-tech space for medical students to learn and collaborate with professors and health professionals.
The 1,365-square-metre (14, 692 square-foot) centre will promote inter-disciplinary learning, clinical research and innovation. Students will benefit from the improved educational environment, which will include a library, seminar rooms with a combined capacity of up to 140 people, a clinical simulation centre, video conferencing suites, and group-study areas.
"Common space and seminar rooms will give students the opportunity to work in a more collaborative setting," added Bond. "Video conferencing will enable students to receive quality instruction and receive additional learning opportunities through UBC faculty of medicine sites. As a result, this new centre will allow medical students and residents to work together more efficiently."
"Post-secondary institutions that support training and education in northern B.C., in partnership with Northern Health, have provided students with exceptional opportunities," said Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie. "The Learning and Development Centre enhances the ability of these organizations to develop the next generation of medical professionals in northern B.C."
The $9.86-million Learning and Development Centre is funded by the Province of B.C. and is expected to open in early 2015.
"The new centre will include robotic patient simulators enabling both individuals and inter-professional teams to develop critical thinking and practical skills," said Cathy Ulrich, chief executive officer, Northern Health. "The centre will be a valuable resource for students and residents in the Northern Medical Program, as well as visiting residents and other health professional students in the region."
"The new centre will be an attractive, innovative space for medical students, and also will benefit approximately 1,000 other students in healthcare disciplines that currently work out of the University Hospital of Northern BC each year," said John Rustad, MLA for Nechako Lakes.
The Northern Medical Program is an important partnership between Northern Health, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Northern British Columbia that enhances medical training and learning opportunities. The 128 undergraduate medical students in the program spend time in Prince George, at both the University of Northern British Columbia and University Hospital of Northern BC. In addition, 30 residents in various specialties are based at the hospital year-round, along with several visiting residents. Students in the northern and rural cohort of the University of British Columbia master of physical therapy program also receive clinical training at the hospital.
"Investments in enhanced educational opportunities are important, especially in a field as vital as health and community well-being," said George Iwama, president of the University of Northern British Columbia. "An inter-disciplinary learning model that takes place in environments such as the hospital, at UNBC, and in regional communities, is critical to increasing capacity in the North."
Western Industrial Contractors has been selected to build the new centre. They are based in Prince George and have completed projects that include Gateway Complex Care and Assisted Living, Duchess Park Secondary School, and the Charles Jago Northern Sports Centre at the University of Northern British Columbia.
"The Learning and Development Centre will allow students and faculty to learn, teach and conduct research in a more collaborative environment," said Dr. Gavin Stuart, dean, UBC faculty of medicine and vice provost health. "By doing so, it will cement University Hospital's prominent place in UBC's network of clinical campuses."
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