News and Announcements

SFU Medical School completes spring engagement sessions

June 27, 2023

A series of engagement sessions this past spring drew a wealth of input related to medical school planning from across the SFU community—providing valuable feedback to those preparing the university’s draft business case before its submission May 31.

The SFU Medical School and Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue teams brought together students, faculty and staff for four engagement sessions in March and April 2023.

The in-person and online sessions at Surrey and Burnaby campuses combined presentations with facilitated discussions or breakout sessions, provided planning progress updates and engaged attendees in conversation on topics integral to the school’s planning, such as Indigenous perspectives, integration with the Surrey campus and community, and research.

Concurrently, an online survey sought feedback on the school’s proposed mission, goal and vision.

In all, 210 participants attended in-person or online while the survey drew 226 responses. The facilitated round-table discussions, breakout sessions and survey covered thematic areas: high standards and community impact; community engagement and needs; teaching and learning; collaboration and resource sharing; student pathways, admissions and supports; and research.

For a high-level snapshot of outcomes from this engagement series, scan the two-page infographic here. Or, read the entire What We Heard Report for all sessions here.

Collaborating from the beginning

This spring’s sessions, which built on SFU student, faculty and staff feedback from fall 2021, contributed to high-level medical school ideas outlined in the draft business case. Topics progressed from values, principles and advice for moving forward in those early sessions to building momentum within the SFU community and helping to shape the school in vital, actionable areas this year.

“We are thankful for the great response from those who participated and provided input,” says Kris Magnusson, senior advisor to the provost and workforce working group chair. “Working group members who attended each session were able to listen, ask questions and hear ideas and concerns directly related to specific areas of the school’s development. The breakouts and discussion groups allowed them to probe ideas or concerns in real-time and directly influence the business case.

“The energy and enthusiasm from participants was great to see, and it was so valuable to have so many different perspectives represented. We had the opportunity to learn from prospective students, IT staff, researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including Indigenous faculty. They reaffirmed important values and gave us good, practical advice.”

SFU is creating a medical school with community, collaboration and culture at its core, intending to graduate physicians who are competent, compassionate and committed to providing community-level health care where it’s most needed throughout the province. While the school will emphasize family medicine and primary care, it will still enable students to pursue any field of medicine they choose.

The school’s curriculum will lean heavily on providing students with community-based learning placements early in the four-year undergraduate program. It will emphasize teamwork, patient-centred environments, social, environmental and prevention contexts and culturally safe practices. First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge systems and perspectives will be embedded throughout. Further, this community-based model will play a significant role in keeping the school accountable to procedures, processes and program culture centred around enhancing health equity for B.C.’s diverse communities.

Continuing the momentum

SFU submitted its draft business case to the provincial government on May 31, 2023, and anticipates a funding announcement in March 2024. This draft included conceptual ideas about the school’s curriculum, admissions and enrollment, and workforce and space requirements, which may need further refinement over the coming months.

With the school anticipated to open in fall 2026, planning and development work will continue moving forward over the next nine months. As the shift from conceptual to pre-operational occurs, there will likely be changes to the working groups and even more opportunities for interested individuals to contribute to particular aspects of the school.

“As planning for the medical school continues, we’ll continue to seek feedback, input and expertise as the school’s success will depend upon these genuine and reciprocal partnerships,” says Magnusson.


For the latest medical school news, visit Information on more ways you can get involved with the school’s development will be posted later this summer.