SFU's proposed medical school—a catalyst for change in B.C.

B.C. needs more primary care physicians

With our partners, the Fraser Health Authority (FHA) and the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), we have an unprecedented opportunity to train physicians differently—to focus on community-embedded, socially accountable and culturally relevant primary care. 

We are proposing a medical program that better supports the primary care needs of underserved populations.

We also have an opportunity to position BC as a leader in Indigenous medical education and help deliver on the province’s commitments to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The need

The need is greatest among underserved geographic areas and populations, including rural and remote regions, rapidly growing municipalities, new immigrants and refugees, and Indigenous peoples.

Primary care physicians need training in emerging areas of public health concern, such as mental health and addictions, palliative care, and prevention of chronic diseases.

And there is an urgent need to address the health and wellness needs of Indigenous peoples with cultural humility and to create culturally safe care environments.

What we would focus on

  • Train graduates who are well prepared to understand the needs of diverse and underserved populations.
  • Embed and prioritize Indigenous ways of knowing, while teaching cultural safety and humility.
  • Train physicians to work in team-based primary care with an emphasis on the social and and ecological determinants of health, and a broad public health perspective.
  • Commit to reciprocal community partnerships at all stages of the school's activities .

SFU strengths

  • A wide array of established health programs, including a Faculty of Health Sciences, and instructional and research capacity across faculties, including:
    • Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
    • Psychology
    • Gerontology
  • Health scientists working in genomics, bioinformatics, medicinal chemistry, neuroscience, and medical technology
  • Strong partnerships, community engagement, Indigenous relationships
  • New medical education programming opportunities

Where we are in the process

SFU completed an internal community engagement process in the spring of 2022. You can read more about what we heard in the section below.

Creating a medical school is a complex undertaking. We are currently working with both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. Upon getting government approval, we could be welcoming our first class of students within three to four years.

The following graphic details how the work could progress once we receive government approval.

What SFU heard during the initial internal community engagement

This fall, SFU began an internal community engagement process for the proposed SFU medical school.

Among other questions, people were asked: What values/principles should guide our early planning? And what is your best advice for SFU as we move forward in planning for the proposed new medical school?

In a themed summary report, SFU’s Centre for Dialogue captured the views and ideas from faculty, staff and students during the virtual information session on Oct. 18, 2021. The report, What We Heard, also captured feedback from a pair of targeted webinars and an online survey.

The wide-ranging answers will inform early planning and will guide SFU’s subsequent phases of engagement.

NEW: The What We Heard report now includes a summary of feedback we received at the Indigenous information session on Jan. 20, 2022.

You can watch a video of the student information session near the bottom of this page and read the report, here.

Student information webinar recording

On Nov. 9th, Catherine Dauvergne, SFU’s vice-president, academic and provost, held an interactive Zoom information session aimed at students interested in learning more about the early planning for the proposed medical school. Watch a recording of the session below.

Information session recap and recording

On Oct. 18, 2021, Catherine Dauvergne, SFU’s vice-president, academic and provost, and Joy Johnson, president and vice-chancellor, co-chaired an information session about the proposed medical school. Read about the information session here, or watch the video below.