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Unique collaboration

Memorial and UPEI announce joint medical degree

Teaching and Learning

By Terri Coles

It’s a first-in-Canada collaboration.

Together, Memorial University and the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) are developing a joint doctor of medicine degree.

From left: Dennis King, premier, PEI; Dr. Margaret Steele, dean, Memorial; Catherine Callbeck, chancellor, UPEI; and Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, president, UPEI. .
From left are Dennis King, premier, PEI; Dr. Margaret Steele, dean, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial; Catherine Callbeck, chancellor, UPEI; and Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, president, UPEI.
Photo: UPEI Marketing and Communications

The joint degree program, announced in Charlottetown on Oct. 8, will bring together the strengths of both institutions, including rural and family medicine. This will increase training opportunities for future family doctors and general specialists across Atlantic Canada.

“I’m energized by the potential of our team collaborating with UPEI on creating an innovative degree, that builds on our current knowledge, but due to its joint or co-degree nature, will be the first-of-its-kind in Canada,” said Dr. Margaret Steele, dean of Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine.

Focus on family and rural medicine

Discussions for the joint degree program began in early 2020.

Beginning in September 2023, UPEI’s new Faculty of Medicine will provide seats for 20 students each year.

“I am excited to embark on this community-linked process.” — Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz

At least one of those seats will go to an Indigenous student. The school will focus on training generalists with a 50:50 mix of family doctors and general specialists.

“Working with Memorial University on the development of the UPEI Faculty of Medicine will allow us to offer a joint degree with a focus on family and rural medicine and Indigenous health,” said Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, president, University of Prince Edward Island.

“I am excited to embark on this community-linked process.”

Dr. Margaret Steele, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, stands at a lecturn and smiles.
Dr. Margaret Steele, dean of Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine, visited the UPEI on Oct. 8.
Photo: UPEI Marketing and Communications

Memorial University is a national leader in rural medicine. The medical faculty has been recognized three times over 11 years by the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada.

By partnering with Memorial, UPEI gains immediate access to its successful curriculum informed by more than 50 years of experience in generalist training, rural medicine and Indigenous health.

The University of Prince Edward Island is known for its innovative programming and research. The university also has one of only five faculties of veterinary medicine in Canada, as well as undergraduate programs in paramedicine and kinesiology and a doctoral program in clinical psychology.

“As a former vice-president of UPEI, I am delighted to see this partnership established with Memorial University,” said Dr. Vianne Timmons, president, Memorial University.

“Health care involves teamwork and collaborating with our Atlantic Canadian neighbours is important during these times of uncertainty,” President Timmons continued. “I am looking forward to seeing the advances in research and medical education that our institutions will accomplish together.”

Rural medicine success

With the help of Memorial’s proven curriculum, the new program will increase Atlantic training opportunities for future physicians.

“A medical doctor program is an important long-term investment for our province that will benefit all islanders and make PEI an even better place to work and live,” said Premier Dennis King.

“I am confident that UPEI and Memorial University will draw on their many strengths to propose an innovative program model suited to PEI.”

PEI’s government committed $66 million toward the operation of UPEI’s new Faculty of Medicine over a six-year period.

Another $50 million supports a new health sciences building to house the faculty, an expanded Faculty of Nursing and the UPEI Health and Wellness Centre.

UPEI also announced expanded capacity for nursing students and the expansion of the school’s Health and Wellness Centre. Both initiatives will contribute to the joint program through collaborative education integration, including in family medicine.


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