News at Medicine - March 2008 - Faculty of Medicine on brink of expansion

Faculty of Medicine on brink of expansion
March 14, 2008
Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine will experience tremendous growth in the next decade, both in education and research.

Premier Danny Williams’ Blueprint 2007 commits to a $15 million expansion for medical education faculty and $11.75 million in new annual operational costs.

“This will allow us to have the faculty and staff consistent for modern education facilities,” said Dr. James Rourke, dean of medicine. “We will admit more students from Newfoundland and Labrador this coming year and increase total enrolment from the current 60 to 78 over five years – a 30 per cent overall increase. Residency training program positions will also need to be increased.”

The incoming class for 2008-09 will increase from 60 to 64 and 46 of those seats will be for students from Newfoundland and Labrador – an increase of six. The governments of New Brunswick and PEI purchase 12 seats and the remaining are open to other Canadian students.

Dr. Rourke said most Memorial medical school graduates do stay to practise in this province. Between 2002-06 about 144 MUN graduates went into practice here, according to data from the College of Physicians of Newfoundland and Labrador. This is an average of 29 new doctors in practice in the province per year or 72.5 per cent of the number of Newfoundland and Labrador students per class.

Dr. Rourke said while the province is facing a doctor shortage, that is a national problem related to a highly competitive market. That is why the medical school wants to expand the class size to educate more students from Newfoundland and Labrador who are more likely to stay in the province. An increase in research space is also being planned.

“The availability of adequate space is a critical issue for our faculty and also for the School of Nursing and School of Pharmacy,” said Dr. Rourke. “Our faculty has doubled its research funding from $7 million in 2000-01 to $13.8 million in 2005-06. There is potential to double this again in the next five years, but this can only happen if new research space is built.”

The Faculty of Medicine is preparing a business plan for a Newfoundland and Labrador Health Research Complex to operate as a centre of excellence for health research comprised of proven and innovative interdisciplinary research teams. “This new building will expand research activity and enable updating of research facilities within the Health Sciences Centre to be used for leading edge research,” said Dr. Rourke.