News at Medicine - June 2022 - Increased capacity

Increased capacity
June 14, 2022
Georgia Darmonkow, a second-year medical student at Memorial and president of the Doctor of Medicine class of 2024, was born and raised in the province in which she now studies. 
Starting with the Doctor of Medicine class of 2027, more Newfoundland and Labrador students will have that same opportunity. The minimum number of seats available for the province's residents in each year in the Faculty of Medicine's undergraduate medical education program will expand from 60 to 65. 

"It's absolutely wonderful to hear that more students from Newfoundland and Labrador will have the opportunity to study medicine here in our province," Darmonkow said at the announcement on Friday, June 7.

Based on past research, an increase in the number of provincial residents studying medicine at Memorial is likely to lead to an increase in the number of Doctor of Medicine graduates who choose to practice in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Increasing the number of reserved seats for students from Newfoundland and Labrador will offer an opportunity for more learners from this province to study medicine right here at home," said the Honourable Dr. Andrew Furey, the province's premier, at the announcement. "It's our hope that these new seats represent five more potential doctors, year after year after year, who will choose to live and work care for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador."

Expanded provincial seats

Every year, 80 students are accepted into the four-year undergraduate medical program. Of those 80 seats, the majority are reserved for students from Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Premier Furey, a Memorial alumnus (MD '01) and orthopaedic surgeon, announced the increase in reserved seats for provincial residents at Memorial's Faculty of Medicine. 

"This is great news for our province and I can tell you, as a former medical student, I'm sure it's an exciting moment for all undergraduates from across the road [at Memorial] as they want to embark on what is truly a special career," he said.

Premier Furey was joined at the announcement by Dr. Margaret Steele, interim provost and vice-president (academic) and dean of medicine at Memorial.

"We recognize the role of the medical school to work with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador and communities throughout the province to ensure we can educate competent and compassionate doctors who will be prepared to work across the province," Dr. Steele said at the announcement.

Supporting physician retention

Funding additional reserved seats for Newfoundland and Labrador residents is one measure to recruit and retain more doctors in the province, Premier Furey said at the announcement. Students who complete their medical education in their home province have a higher rate of practicing medicine in that province, Dr. Steele said. 

Speaking at the announcement, Dr. Steele pointed to the faculty's ongoing success in training physicians who practice in the province, including in rural areas. 

"We have been nationally recognized as leaders in medicine when it comes to producing rural doctors," Dr. Steele said. She pointed to Memorial's two recent awards from the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada as recognition of its accomplishments in educating Newfoundland and Labrador's future doctors.

"I think that ultimately, these five seats will translate into helping patients in all corners of this province," Darmonkow said. "Honestly, I can't think of practicing anywhere else."

From left: Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi, Dr. Susan MacDonald, (back) Dr. Barton Thiessen, Ms. Georgia Darmowkow, Hon. Dr. Andrew Furey, Dr. Margaret Steele, Dr. Dolores McKeen, Dr. Taryn Hearn, Dr. Shane Arsenault.
Photo by Jennifer Armstrong, HSIMS