Health Minister Mary Schryer joined officials from the Horizon Health Network and Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick at the official opening today of new laboratory facilities and the medical education clinical teaching unit.
"This new modernized space will contribute to a positive learning environment for medical students, and we hope many will become full-time physicians practising in New Brunswick after their studies are completed," said Schryer.
The provincial government invested $3.1 million in renovations and furnishings at the hospital to support the four-year undergraduate distributed medical education program.
"This investment in medical education and the new training facilities represent an exciting opportunity for Horizon Health Network," said Donald J. Peters, president and chief executive officer, Horizon Health Network. "I would like to thank the provincial government for its commitment to this project. Training New Brunswick students in their own province will certainly support our efforts to recruit top-notch health-care professionals."
The medical education clinical teaching unit includes new seminar, multimedia and videoconferencing rooms as well as a multipurpose conference room and a patient examination room.
Students will participate in core curriculum training with Halifax-based instructors by way of videoconferencing. The newly renovated anatomy and histology lab will include a new storage room, washrooms and offices for faculty.
Students will receive hands-on training from an inter-professional team at the hospital. They will use existing classrooms in the emergency, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, medicine, psychology, psychiatry and surgery departments.
The provincial government has collaborated with Dalhousie University to establish the new distributed medical education program. In Year One of the program, which starts this fall, 30 students will be training in New Brunswick. For the first two years of their studies, students will be based in Saint John and then move to sites across the province for their third and fourth years (clerkship).
"The ability to learn in the hospital setting is fundamental to the education of our future physicians," said Dr. John Steeves, associate dean, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick.
"The Horizon Health Network and the Government of New Brunswick should be congratulated for ensuring that these clinical teaching facilities have been completed on time and on budget for the launch of Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick."
In addition to the renovations at the Saint John Regional Hospital, the provincial government has budgeted $2.6 million in 2010-11 to undertake renovations to support the new distributed medical program at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, the Moncton Hospital and the Miramichi Regional Hospital.