More future doctors will be training at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, with the Ontario government’s announcement it will significantly expand medical education and residency training spots at Western. Starting this fall, and rolling out over the next three years, the school will add 16 medical education spots and 22 residency training positions.
“Since many physicians eventually practice in the locations where they train, we know this expansion will translate into more doctors caring for our region, which is among the fastest-growing in Canada,” said Western University President Alan Shepard. “We applaud the provincial government’s investment in medical education at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and across Ontario.”
The additional spots were included in last month’s provincial budget for 2023, where the government announced it would expand medical school education through a new investment of $33 million over three years. The investment is creating 100 undergraduate medical seats and 154 postgraduate medical training seats in the province.
Schulich Medicine & Dentistry currently has 171 first-year undergraduate medical education seats, 133 of which are in London and 38 at its Windsor campus. The newly announced spots will be in addition to these seats, bringing the totals to 187 undergraduate seats and 230 residency training spots.
“This is tremendous news – not only for our medical school, but for all the people in the vast and growing region we serve, from Woodstock to the Great Lakes and Owen Sound to Windsor-Essex,” said Dr. John Yoo, dean, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.
“Many of these communities are experiencing doctor shortages and significant health-care challenges, and the pandemic has added to those pressures. People are hurting and we are in the business of training doctors who can help.”
Last year, 28 new postgraduate residency spots were added to the existing 185 residency positions at Schulich Medicine through provincial funding. Western also received support from the provincial government to expand its 19-month program for registered practical nurses (RPNs) to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree. The compressed timeframe (CTF) BScN program grew to 232 seats in 2022, a dramatic increase from 100 seats in 2020, and 135 in 2021.
Impact in Windsor
The 2023 provincial budget also includes funding to build a new Windsor-Essex Acute Care Hospital in Windsor, Ont. This announcement supports Western’s mission to provide quality healthcare in southern Ontario.
In 2008, with the provincial government’s support, Western launched Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Windsor campus. Since its establishment 15 years ago, the Windsor campus has led to a 35 per cent increase in family physicians and a 31 per cent increase in specialists practicing in the area. Impressively, more than 80 per cent of family medicine graduates have chosen to stay in Windsor-Essex to practise, resulting in almost 100 new physicians joining the region.
Dean Yoo said the school will work with the Ministry to determine an appropriate distribution for the additional medical education and residency training spots between its London, Ont. and Windsor campuses.
“We’ll work together to ensure the spots are allocated in a way that ensures the best outcomes for our trainees and the needs of the people we serve,” he said.
The government announcement can be read here.