Trail’s Dr. Cheryl Hume met with Dr. Allan Jones

Trail’s Dr. Cheryl Hume met with Dr. Allan Jones

KBRH chosen as teaching hospital

Two medical students will shadow local docs for a year.

Starting in September, Trail’s hospital will be one of a few facilities to kickstart a new program that looks to attract medical professionals to rural areas in the Interior.Two third-year UBC medical students will be selected to live and work in Trail for a year, where they’ll follow patients through the cycle of care – from diagnosis to treatment and follow-up.The new partnership between UBC’s southern medical program and Interior Health is viewed as a great opportunity for students to gain clinical training while experiencing the benefits of practicing medicine in a smaller, rural community.“This is a huge acknowledgement by UBC about the quality and integrity of medical staff at KBRH,” said Dr. Cheryl Hume, who will lead a team of local medical professionals in the pilot program in Trail. “This is the beginning of what we hope to be a long-lasting relationship with UBC and ongoing clinical education in the province.”Another of its kind will also be established in Vernon and the hope is that more hospitals will be set up as teaching facilities.Based in Kelowna, the southern program is the fourth in UBC’s distributed MD undergraduate program.Eleven interested UBC medical students are coming to Trail this Saturday and Sunday to determine whether they plan to apply for one for the two positions available. Their visit will include a tour of Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and the community, as well as meetings with representatives from the southern medical program, Interior Health and KBRH.“Our hospital is right for this venture. This program addresses manpower and recruitment issues,” said Hume, calling a shortage of medical professionals a national problem as a large onslaught of doctors look to retire.Hume sits on a local recruitment committee, which strives to attract professionals to Trail when needed. The UBC program is part of longer-term planning, rather than to meet any immediate needs.With a quarter-century of experience as a doctor, Hume has chosen to work closely with medical students for years. While 80 students selected Trail as a place to fulfill short-term learning experiences within the past three years, Hume hopes that the one-year opportunity will further offer students a realistic taste of working in Trail.With kudos from UBC, she was inclined to lead the program that will “keep the regional hospital functioning as a regional hospital” and potentially improve patient care.“There is a huge contribution of students deciding to return to rural areas, giving interest in this distributive model of medical education,” she said. “It’s a win-win situation.”Dr. Allan Jones, associate regional dean for the Southern Medical Program, said students who’ve practiced in Trail have spoken highly of the professionals they’ve interacted with, which was one of the main reasons Trail was selected as a training facility.“There is evidence centred around what it is that attracts students, people who are born and raised in an area are more likely to return to the same community,” he said.He suggested that this program won’t have the same impact as being raised in an area would, but will have a stronger lasting impression on students.The two students selected for the program will shadow two local physicians at their practices and a number of clinical specialists at the Trail hospital.