McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Mac med school gets more students, satellite campuses

Published: February 9, 2006
Dr. John Kelton and Jennifer Mossop, MPP for Stoney Creek

McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine will launch satellite campuses in two neighbouring areas as part of a provincial government plan announced today to create 104 new medical school places across the province.

The satellite campuses will be established in Niagara and Waterloo/Wellington in the next two and a half years, each accommodating 15 first-year medical students.

Medical students attending the satellite campuses will perform the clinical portion of the three-year undergraduate program in the communities that are part of the regions where the campuses will be located.

In addition to these 30 new first-year medical school places, McMaster is also getting an additional eight places at the Hamilton campus. Those students will perform their clinical rotations in Brantford and Burlington.

The expansion announcement was made at McMaster today, by Jennifer Mossop, MPP for Stoney Creek, on behalf of Chris Bentley, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The increase in medical school spots throughout the province is part of the government’s efforts to address the ongoing doctor shortage.

"Today’s announcement is a further step in addressing wait times in the health care system," Mossop said. "The public has made it clear that they want the government to make these investments in order to speed access."

The Waterloo campus will open in the fall of 2007, while the Niagara campus is slated to begin operations a year later.

Although no final decisions have been made on location of the campuses, it is likely they will be in downtown Kitchener and in St. Catharines.

The provincial government will provide a total of $7.5 million in funding for the full implementation of the McMaster medical school expansion.

The expansion will bring enrolment in the first-year undergraduate program of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine to 176 by 2008-09. Since 2000, enrolment has climbed from 100 to 148. This year’s first-year number includes 10 of the new 38 McMaster places that were part of today’s government announcement, meaning the first wave of the expansion will graduate in May, 2008.

Students attending the satellite campuses will have full access to the complete learning and training resources provided by the McMaster medical school. Each campus will have a "home base" building to enable complete access to services, and be designed for optimal learning through the use of enhanced information technology.

"Behind this expansion is the spirit of innovation that’s always been a driving force of the Michael G. DeGroote School of medicine; the use of new learning technologies, and the welcome of these communities," said John Kelton, dean of the school and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences. "These new campuses will offer students a premium experience. We will train students from the Kitchener-Waterloo and the Niagara areas to become the physicians of tomorrow’s health care teams for these communities."

The selection process for candidates for the medical school will remain the same, but the chosen students who come from the Waterloo and Niagara regions will be given preference to attend the satellite campuses.

The two areas were chosen for the satellite campuses because of their proximity to McMaster, and the fact that both are designated as being underserved by family physicians.

McMaster has several advantages in helping to cure the doctor shortage in Ontario. The University is known for its unique, three-year undergraduate medical program (all other medical schools in the province have four-year programs), and its ability to graduate a proportionately higher percentage of family physicians. Last year, 39 percent of McMaster graduates went into family medicine residency training, compared to 28 per cent of all Canadian medical school graduates.

It also has the most popular medical program in the country, receiving about 4,000 applicants each year, and is renowned for its successful community-based medical education programs.

The satellite campuses provide a particular advantage to solving the doctor shortage, as studies have shown that medical students are more likely to stay and practice in the communities where they learned.

McMaster is also recruiting physicians in the Niagara and Waterloo regions to become part of the clinical teaching staff for the satellite campuses.

The McMaster expansion is the largest of the medical school growth plans announced today by the province.

The government also announced the creation of two other satellite campuses in the province – one in Windsor operated by the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in London, and one in Mississauga, operated by the University of Toronto.

The province-wide expansion of medical school places includes a total of 26 at U of T, 20 at the University of Ottawa, 14 at UWO, and six at Queen’s University in Kingston.

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