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Five additional secured seats for Newfoundland and Labrador medical students

Campus and Community

By Terri Coles

Georgia Darmonkow, a second-year medical student at Memorial, was born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador. Being able to complete her education in her home province has meant a lot.

Starting with the doctor of medicine class of 2027, more NL students will have that same opportunity. The minimum number of seats available for provincial residents in each year in the Faculty of Medicine’s undergraduate medical education program is expanding from 60 to 65. In total, 80 students enter the four-year undergraduate medical program each year.

“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, who is also president of the Doctor of Medicine class of 2024, said at the announcement on June 7.

Based on past research, increasing the number of provincial residents studying medicine at Memorial will likely increase the number of doctor of medicine graduates who practice in NL.

“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 Dr. Andrew Furey, the province’s premier. “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

From left: Faculty of Medicine Assistant Dean of Social Accountability Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi, NLMA President Dr. Susan MacDonald, Assistant Dean of Admissions Dr. Barton Thiessen, Class of 2024 President Georgia Darmankov, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dr. Andrew Furey, Faculty of Medicine Dean Dr. Margaret Steele, Vice Dean of Education and Faculty Affairs Dr. Dolores McKeen, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education Dr. Taryn Hearn, PARNL Co-President Dr. Shane Arsenault. All are standing in a line, looking at the camera and smiling.
From left: Faculty of Medicine assistant dean of Social Accountability Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association president Dr. Susan MacDonald, assistant dean of Admissions Dr. Barton Thiessen, Class of 2024 president Georgia Darmonkow, Newfoundland and Labrador premier Dr. Andrew Furey, Faculty of Medicine dean Dr. Margaret Steele, vice dean of Education and Faculty Affairs Dr. Dolores McKeen, associate dean of Undergraduate Medical Education Dr. Taryn Hearn, and Professional Association of Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador co-president Dr. Shane Arsenault.
Photo: Jennifer Armstrong/HSIMS

Premier Furey, a Memorial alumnus (MD ’01), announced the increase in reserved seats for provincial residents at an event held 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.

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

“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 seats for its residents is one measure to recruit and retain more doctors in the province, Premier Furey said. Students who complete their medical education in their home province have higher rates of practicing medicine there, Dr. Steele added.

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,” she said, pointing 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.”

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