U of M moves to encourage more medical school graduates to stay in Manitoba

Students gather for the 2014 convocation at the University of Manitoba
Students gather for the 2014 convocation at the University of Manitoba.

Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba
Wave, May / June 2014

We recently celebrated the convocation of our largest medical school class on record - good news for all Manitobans!

On May 15, the University of Manitoba conferred MD degrees on 109 graduates of the Faculty of Medicine Class of 2014.

I am delighted that 90 graduates will remain in Manitoba to complete their residency programs.

Starting July 1, our residents will be fanned out across the city and province, delivering patient care in emergency rooms, operating rooms, hospital wards, pediatric clinics, psych-health, family practices and more.

The fact that we retained over 80 per cent of our graduates bodes well for stocking Manitoba's physician resource needs into the future.

Last year, the Faculty of Medicine committed to take actions during the resident-matching process to retain the majority of our graduating medical students to U of M residency programs who will, ultimately, meet the health-care needs of all Manitobans.

Our Student Retention Steering Committee recommended a number of changes to recruit and retain 70 per cent of our graduates to U of M residency program positions - we clearly succeeded! We will continue to strive to meet that 70 per cent target in future years.

Across Canada, a surplus of specialists is looming in some areas while there is a growing demand for generalists to meet patient needs. Medical students everywhere have taken notice, with a marked interest among our students to pursue careers as family physicians.

As a result, this year, 34 graduands will be completing a residency in Family Medicine at the U of M, including 19 in rural areas and one in the bilingual stream (who will train in Ste. Anne, St. Boniface, and Notre Dame de Lourdes).

We have expanded our family medicine distributed education sites, which include residency positions in northern and remote communities, as well as in Dauphin, Brandon, Morden/Winkler, Steinbach, and Portage la Prairie.

For some graduates, the appeal lies in living in a close-knit rural community where they are appreciated. For others, a rural residency program offers broad clinical experience or a chance to head back to their own rural roots.

Our admissions process casts a wide net to place value on applicants with rural attributes. In the Class of 2014, 49 students entered medical school with these attributes. I believe our efforts to attract students with diverse backgrounds are now bearing fruit and will positively impact physician shortages faced by rural communities.

We know that where doctors earn their MD degrees and complete their residency training influences where they will practice.

In an analysis of our graduates, we found 73 per cent of physicians who completed both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in Manitoba practised in Manitoba two years after completing their training (65 per cent practised in Manitoba five years after training, and 58 per cent after 10 years).

Approximately 95 per cent of our graduating students are Manitobans; we want them to stay in Manitoba for residency programs - and beyond.

As Manitoba's only medical school, we have a responsibility to the whole province to retain the physicians we educate and train so they will provide health-care service to all Manitobans.

Wave: May / June 2014

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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