Go to page content

Rural medicine passion

Multiple national awards for Faculty of Medicine program, MDs

Teaching and Learning

By Virginia Middleton

Dr. Cody Diamond always knew he would choose the Faculty of Medicine’s Central Newfoundland stream when it came time to apply for his family medicine residency.

A man posing outside with the ocean behind him. There are small pieces of ice in the water and the sky is cloudy.
Dr. Cody Diamond in Twillingate, N.L.
Photo: Submitted

The Memorial alumnus grew up in Botwood, N.L.. He knew he wanted to return to the area to begin practising medicine.

Now, as he completes his training in Twillingate, he plans to stay there as a family physician starting in July.

‘A big family’

While Dr. Diamond had an interest in medicine growing up, during his high school years he saw first-hand how important a family doctor can be.

A local doctor identified a severe and unexpected illness in a patient that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

“In family medicine, we have an opportunity to know a patient from their time of birth, their childhood and into adulthood,” he said.

Dr. Diamond also says that, in a rural medicine learning environment, there’s opportunities to have one-on-one time with teaching physicians, other medical professionals and staff.

“It’s like being in a big family and we’re all just working together to help people.”

When Dr. Diamond started his residency, he says both he and his wife were welcomed into the community as soon as they arrived.

“Having a community connect with you as early as possible can help, so that when you get there you already have a support network.” — Dr. Cody Diamond

It helped them to quickly settle in to their new community.

“It can be scary when you’re going to a new place that you’re not familiar with,” he said. “Having a community connect with you as early as possible can help, so that when you get there you already have a support network. That’s harder to establish in a big city.”

Family doctor dream

This scenario is familiar to Allison Best, who will receive her doctor of medicine (MD) degree during spring convocation ceremonies on Thursday, June 1.

Like Dr. Diamond, Ms. Best has always known her heart belonged to a rural community.

On July 1, she will begin postgraduate studies in family medicine in the Central stream, as well.

During Ms. Best’s childhood, whenever the Fogo native thought about being a doctor, it was always a family doctor.

And all throughout her program, while she did enjoy experiences in other areas of medicine, she always came back to family medicine as her first love.


A selfie photo of a woman outside in front of a white building.
Allison Best outside the Postville Community Clinic in Labrador.
Photo: Submitted

“I really enjoyed my family medicine rotations and whenever possible, I opted to go to locations outside of St. John’s, like St. Anthony and communities in Labrador, to get more hands-on experiences,” she said.

Multiple national awards

Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine has a track record for fostering strong foundational experiences in rural medicine.

And for that, the Society of Rural Physicians Canada (SRPC) has, for the second year in a row, awarded both the Rural Medical Education Award and the Keith Award to Memorial.

This is the 10th time Memorial has received the Keith Award. The SRPC presents the Keith Award to a Canadian postgraduate program with the largest number of graduates practising in rural Canada for the most recent 10 years after graduation.

The Rural Medical Education Award is presented annually to the program matching the most graduates to rural family medicine residencies.

Eighty-six per cent of Memorial’s doctor of medicine graduates entered a rural residency program in 2022. Memorial also received this award in 2008, 2019, 2020 and 2022.

“These awards from the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada recognize the Faculty of Medicine’s excellence in undergraduate and postgraduate rural medical education,” said Dr. Andrew Hunt, assistant dean, distributed medical education. “Our success in encouraging learners to embrace rural practice is a combination of their passion for medicine, experiences with outstanding teaching physicians and the dedicated support provided by our administrative staff.”

Four people holding printed awards with a red and white balloon arch behind them.
From left are Allison Best, Dr. Andrew Hunt, Dr. Margaret Steele and Dr. Lyn Power at the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada Awards ceremony in April 2023.
Photo: Submitted

In addition to these awards, the SRPC recognized a number of Memorial Faculty of Medicine faculty members and learners during the April 21 awards ceremony.

Dr. Lyn Power, from Burin, N.L., received a Rural Service Award; Dr. Samantha Harper, from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., received a Fellowship of Rural and Remote Medicine; Allison Best received a Student Leadership Award; and Daniel Pearce from the doctor of medicine class of 2024 received a Student Essay Award.

To receive news from Memorial in your inbox, subscribe to Gazette Now.

Latest News

‘Compassion and drive’

Dr. Jennifer Lokash honoured with national women's leadership award

Investment disclosure

Memorial begins publishing list of investments

Breakthroughs and answers

Memorial University researchers awarded more than $9.1-million federal investment

Update on student protest

Productive meeting between university and organizers

Community care

National recognition for Faculty of Medicine's rural education — for three years running

High five!

A quintet of next-generation Memorial researchers just earned prestigious federal grants