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April 13, 2012

U of L to Offer More Medical Training

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Original Article from the Lethbridge Herald; written by Dave Mabell.

The University of Lethbridge will soon be training family physicians.

Premier Alison Redford made that announcement during an election campaign stop in Lethbridge.

A southern Alberta rural practice "clerkship" program already in place for medical students is being expanded, she said. And this fall, the first medical school courses will be offered at the University of Lethbridge.

"Educating local students close to home is one of the best ways in which we can respond to the pressing need for doctors and rural physicians," she said.

As many as 20 southern Alberta students may be admitted to the program, to be offered under the direction of the medical school at the University of Calgary.

Advanced Education Minister Greg Weadick, running for re-election in Lethbridge West, said arrangements are being made to offer the full medical program here, through distance learning and in-person lectures. By 2015, he said, there should be no need for medical students to leave southern Alberta.

Six medical students are currently involved in the clerkship program, he said, and that will be enlarged. Both the U of C and the University of Alberta are increasing their medical school intake, he added, with more than 300 physicians graduating this year.

With students no longer required to move to a major city, the premier said, the costs of their medical training will be lower.

"Increasing the accessibility of medical education and reducing barriers for medical students who want to enter training and serve their own community will make health care more accessible for Albertans," she said.

Click here to read the full article.

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