Queen’s University getting additional medical seats

The School of Medicine Building at Queen’s University. Photo by Owen Fullerton, LJI reporter.

Queen’s University is adding a total of 36 new seats to its medical program in the coming years, and is opening the school’s first medical satellite campus as part of the expansion.

The university bringing the total number of spots at the university to 134 undergraduate and 178 postgraduate seats by 2028.

This expansion is part of the addition of over 450 new seats across Ontario’s six medical schools, including a proposed new school at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson). The province is looking to create another 100 undergraduate medical school seats starting in 2023 and 154 postgraduate medical training positions beginning in 2024.

More than half of the new seats coming to Queen’s will be designated for the University’s collaboration with Durham Region’s Lakeridge Health. Queen’s students will be based at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa for the medical school’s first satellite campus, an addition Dean of Health Sciences Dr. Jane Philpott said is exciting for the school in itself.

“Most of the medical schools in the province have had satellite campuses and we never have at Queen’s,” Philpott said. “So we’re very excited that this will be the first full satellite expansion of our medical school.”

Dr. Philpott added the campus is another way for the school to solidify roots along the southern Ontario shoreline. 

The satellite campus will come with a specific focus on training students to be family doctors, the first of its kind in Canada. The shortage of family doctors countrywide is no secret to anyone, and Dr. Philpott noted that this new addition looks to help address that.

“The new campus has this special focus where we’re specifically recruiting students who are committed to becoming family doctors,” Dr. Philpott expressed. 

“I think people in Kingston know that there’s a shortage of family doctors. We’re hoping that this new innovation in medical education will actually demonstrate that this will make us even more successful at training family doctors.”

Dr. Philpott said that in the school’s general medical stream, only about 30 per cent of graduates go on to become family doctors, and Queen’s would like to see that number bumped up. She noted that along with adding this new opportunity, the university is also trying to look into other factors that are a challenge to existing family doctors or deter medical professionals from pursuing family medicine at all.

“We’re doing work to try to understand better and respond to what we’re hearing from family doctors in the community,” Dr. Philpott said.

This new expansion, the largest in over a decade, will bring the total number of undergraduate seats and postgraduate training seats to 1,212 and 1,637 respectively, by 2028.

Owen Fullerton is a Kingston-based reporter with the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI).

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