UPEI is committed to help PEI train doctors

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Concept rendering of the health education building at UPEI
Concept rendering of the health education building at UPEI

UPEI has a unique opportunity and duty as the provincial university to be part of the long-term solution to improve the current health-care system. Twenty undergraduate medical learners will begin their studies at UPEI in August 2025 as part of a regional campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Faculty of Medicine. The timeline for this initiative mirrors that of other regional campuses being developed across the country.

We are taking our time to get this right.
The University began researching a medical program in 2020 and announced the partnership with Memorial in 2021. In 2023, UPEI co-commissioned with Health PEI a report (the Spindle report) for insights on how to integrate additional medical learners into the PEI health system. This level of diligence in preparation for a medical school is unlike others. UPEI is also part of a strategic health integration committee for medical education that includes representatives from the Medical Society of PEI (MSPEI), Health PEI, the provincial government, and Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine.

The building is much more than the Faculty of Medicine.
The new building being constructed on the UPEI campus will be home to eventually 80 undergraduate students (20 students per year for four years). For the initial cohort, like other regional campuses across Canada, most of the lectures will be delivered remotely from the home campus in St. John’s while clinical skills, anatomy labs, and group exercises will be all delivered in-person at UPEI. 

The building will also contribute in other ways to health care on PEI by housing a Health PEI patient medical home (a collaborative interdisciplinary health clinic model) that will serve 10,000 Island patients, the UPEI Psychology Clinic, and the PEI Adult ADHD Clinic. The facility will feature a state-of-the-art simulation centre that will be used by other UPEI faculties as well as for continuing education opportunities for PEI physicians and other allied health professionals.

Nothing comes without challenges but UPEI has the support of other medical schools.
UPEI has already begun conversations with Dalhousie University and Memorial University on establishing a regional deans of medicine table to collaborate on training capacity—a recommendation that came from the Spindle report. In initial discussions, everyone has stated they want to see the medical school on PEI succeed.

Physician engagement is paramount.
The University recognizes and values physician engagement and will continue to engage with physicians at every opportunity. We value the perspective of MSPEI and will continue to encourage them to bring their voice to the steering committee and the various subcommittees that have been established for the development of the medical school. However, UPEI acknowledges there is always more engagement work to be done with individual physicians as the project moves forward.

“Although I begin my role officially on April 1, I have already started to engage with physicians and look forward to speaking with more in the days and weeks to come,” says Dr. Preston Smith, incoming and inaugural dean of the UPEI Faculty of Medicine.

“As with the Medical Society of PEI, I along with my UPEI colleagues have been hearing from physicians who are interested in participating in medical education. We know that not everyone will be on board from day one, but as we listen to and grow understanding among more Island physicians, we expect more will want to be part of the medical school. Our plan is to build a ‘made-for-PEI’ Faculty of Medicine together that they can be proud and a part of."

“Every jurisdiction in Canada needs to train its own doctors in order to improve physician numbers and health care. This is why we are committed to the hard work to make this once-in-a-generation project come to fruition in 2025.”

Media Contact

Nicole Phillips
Director of Communications and University Relations
Marketing and Communications

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