A New Medical School for B.C.
The provincial government is enhancing primary care and access to family doctors across B.C. Part of this work includes the creation of a medical school at SFU to educate more doctors to serve underserved populations and to improve care throughout the province.
The medical school submitted its draft business case to the government at the end of May 2023. It anticipates a funding announcement in spring 2024, along with SFU Board of Governor and Senate approvals.
SFU plans to create a program where medical students and residents learn in team-based primary care settings, which are patient-centred and consider social, environmental, and prevention contexts.
The medical school will be based in Surrey, B.C., with place-based learning opportunities across the province, and will work closely with Fraser Health Authority (FHA) and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) during its planning and development.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge systems and perspectives will be embedded throughout the school, with strong connections to remote, rural, and Indigenous communities.
The government has provided financial support so that SFU can facilitate accreditation work, curriculum and space planning.
Medical School Leadership and Progress
A project board has been established to oversee the planning work for a final business case. Membership includes the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, the Ministry of Health and SFU.
Working groups, comprised of SFU leaders, external medical education experts and partners, co-designed curriculum, space, workforce planning and research requirements for the new medical school.
Dr. David J. Price is acting dean and special advisor, providing leadership for the establishment of the medical school. Dr. Price is a practicing family physician and a nationally recognized leader in family medicine and primary care, with extensive consulting experience across Canada and internationally.
Dr. Evan Adams is acting associate dean Indigenous health and special advisor, providing leadership for the integration of Indigenous knowledge systems within the school. Dr. Adams is Deputy Chief Medical Officer at First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), where he champions the improvement of overall public health and wellness of Indigenous B.C. communities and advocates for the transformation of health care systems in service of culturally safe care.
Dr. Maria Hubinette is acting associate dean, academic and faculty development, and special advisor to the provost, providing leadership for the development and implementation of undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education programs and accreditation. As a practicing family physician, her clinical work focuses on youth and women, particularly outreach to youth with barriers to accessing care, community-based mental health support and specialized care for sexual and gender-based violence survivors. Dr. Hubinette is also a clinical professor in the department of family practice at the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Roger Strasser, a recognized leader in the development of health professional education and was the founding Dean and CEO of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, served as interim dean, providing leadership for initial planning work.
Dr. Sarah Strasser, a global leader in rural health and medical education who has held academic leadership roles in Australia, Canada, Guyana and New Zealand, served as interim vice-dean, providing leadership on accreditation.
Dr. Jon Meddings, a former Dean of the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine, serves as a consultant providing advice on curriculum planning.
Indigenous health leaders continue to guide SFU on First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge systems and perspectives.
Medical school curriculum will be built on the following pillars
- Prepare graduates to meet the prevention and primary care needs of diverse communities and populations across B.C.
- Educate physicians to work in team-based community-level care settings that are patient-centered and socially accountable, through research-informed curriculum and pedagogy.
- Commit to reciprocal community partnerships in the development and implementation of the medical school, its academic programs and research priorities.
- Embed and equalize Indigenous knowledge systems in learning, research and practices.
- Provide community-based learning and research opportunities.
Benefits to creating a medical school at SFU
- More learning pathways and opportunities for students
- An increase in faculty positions, both within the Lower Mainland as well as throughout the province
- Greater research funding and interdisciplinary research opportunities, with more reach throughout B.C.
- Stronger partnerships with health authorities, medical professionals and other community organizations
- Enhanced institutional profile
Ways to Participate
SFU is excited to be working with the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, the Ministry of Health, Fraser Health Authority, First Nations Health Authority and in collaboration with UBC as part of the long-term solution to improve primary care for British Columbians.
- Engagement opportunities for research faculty
This fall, the medical school is planning several activities for faculty members who want to learn more about its research vision and share research-related ideas. Faculty are invited to contact Valorie Crooks, associate vice president research, pro tem, at firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest and help shape these collaborative sessions.
- Answer the monthly survey
It’s quick and anonymous, and your answers will help SFU build a medical school responsive to the needs of community.
Get started →
- Join the dialogue on social responsibility in medical education
"Shaping Tomorrow's Doctors: Fostering Social Responsibility in Medical Education"
Monday, November 27 at SFU Harbour Centre
3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Register on Eventbrite
Join the 2023 Semester in Dialogue student cohort as they host this public dialogue, which aims to dive deeper into a set of guiding principles for medical education and imagine how they can be operationalized in the future. The event is open to everyone, including healthcare professionals, students, faculty members and the wider community interested in medical education. It's an opportunity to contribute your thoughts on the medical schools we need for the well-being of our communities.
SFU began an internal community engagement process for what was then a 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 students, faculty and staff during an online 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 informed early planning and are now guiding subsequent phases of engagement.
Building on previous engagement feedback, SFU's Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic (Provost’s Office) gave SFU students, faculty and staff a chance to get progress updates, provide further feedback and explore how they could benefit from and be involved with the new medical school. Four information sessions took place in March and April 2023, along with an online survey about the medical school’s proposed vision, goals and mission.
- March 2, 2023 – A general information session for SFU students, faculty and staff
- March 28, 2023 – A research-focused information session for faculty and graduate students
- April 3, 2023 – A lunch and dialogue session for Indigenous faculty, staff, and students and those who support our Indigenous communities
- April 25, 2023 – A space and infrastructure-focused session for students, faculty and staff held at the Surrey campus
About Dr. David J. Price
Acting Dean and Special Advisor to the Provost
Dr. Price is a practicing family physician and professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University, where he served as department chair for 15 years until 2021. He is a nationally recognized leader in family medicine and primary care, with extensive consulting experience across Canada and internationally. During his time as chair, he oversaw a significant expansion of the department, in part by establishing new family medicine residency locations in several communities. His research interests include interprofessional primary care practice policies.
Dr. Price attended medical school at the University of BC and practiced comprehensive family medicine (including obstetrics and palliative care) in Vancouver for over a decade before being recruited to McMaster.
Dr. Price will have a visiting faculty appointment in the department of Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology in the Faculty of Science.
About Dr. Evan Adams
Acting Associate Dean Indigenous Health and Special Advisor to the Provost
A proud community member of Coast Salish Tla’amin Nation, Dr. Adams is a past Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). He currently acts as Deputy Chief Medical Officer, where he champions the improvement of overall public health and wellness of First Nations communities in B.C. and advocates for the transformation of health care systems in service of culturally safe care.
During his time in previous roles, including Deputy Chief Medical Officer, First Nations & Inuit Health Branch Headquarters with Indigenous Services Canada and Deputy Provincial Health Officer for Aboriginal Health with the B.C. Ministry of Health, he has worked in close partnership with government and yet provided independent direction on Indigenous health concerns. His research interests lie at the intersections of environment, land, community and holistic wellness and he is a visiting professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Dr. Adams received his MD from the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine and his Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. He undertook the Aboriginal Family Medicine residency training program at St. Paul's Hospital and is a past president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada.
About Dr. Maria Hubinette
acting associate dean, academic and faculty development, and special advisor to the provost
As a practicing family physician, Dr. Hubinette’s clinical work focuses on youth and women, particularly outreach to youth with barriers to accessing care, community-based mental health support and specialized care for sexual and gender-based violence survivors. She is also a clinical professor in the department of family practice at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she serves as the family medicine undergraduate programs director.
Before shifting to post-secondary medical education, Dr. Hubinette worked for over a dozen years with Vancouver Coastal Health as a youth clinic physician and with the Richmond Eating Disorder Program; her current clinical work continues with Vancouver Coastal Health School and BC Women’s Hospital Sexual Assault Service. She is an education researcher in areas of health advocacy and learner equity, and how health professionals conceptualize and operationalize social accountability.
Dr. Hubinette received her MD from UBC and her Master of Medical Education from the University of Dundee, Scotland. She also completed her rural family practice residency program at UBC, holds UBC’s Canfield Distinguished Scholar in Patient Partnerships and is a past award recipient of the Canadian Association for Medical Education’s Certificate of Merit.
About Dr. Roger Strasser
Former interim dean
Dr Roger Strasser is a leader in the global reform of health professional education. Recognizing the importance of context and community in medical education and research, Dr Strasser has gained an international reputation for developing and refining novel strategies to educate health professionals in and for rural communities.
As a result of his formative work in this field, Dr Strasser has become one of the world’s foremost authorities in rural, socially accountable medical education, as well as a sought-after speaker and advisor.
Among his many academic and professional accomplishments, Dr. Strasser is also a former member of the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools.
In September 2002, Dr Strasser was selected to lead the creation of the first medical school in Canada in 35 years—the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), now NOSM University. NOSM U is the first Canadian medical school established with an explicit social accountability mandate to improve the health of the people and communities of the region it serves.
Dr Strasser is one of the few Professors of Rural Health in the world. He is leading a growing body of research relating to socially accountable health professional education, recruitment and retention of health professionals, and rural health service delivery models.
After 17 years as NOSM Founding Dean, Roger relocated to New Zealand in 2020 to take up the position of Professor of Rural Health at the University of Waikato where he was leading the University’s Rural Health public engagement and research capacity building for New Zealand.
Prior to moving to Canada in 2002, Roger Strasser was the Head of the Monash University School of Rural Health in Australia and had an international role with the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) as inaugural Chair of the Working Party on Rural Practice from 1992-2004.
About Dr. Sarah Strasser
Former interim vice-dean
A medical graduate of the University of London, Doctor Sarah Strasser is a global leader in rural health and medical education. She has held academic leadership roles in Australia, Canada, Guyana and most recently as the Dean for Te Huataki Waiora School of Health at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She is internationally recognized for developing innovative health professional training programs for undergraduate, postgraduate and teacher training/faculty development in medicine and interprofessional health. Sarah was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 for her work in medical education and rural practice. She is passionate about family medicine, health equity and encouraging youth to consider health as a career.
In Canada, Doctor Sarah was one of the inaugural faculty members for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and held a number of positions over fifteen years including Director of Phase 2 (when medical students undertake a year based in the community); Director of Faculty Development; and Head of Human Science Division.
In Australia, as Associate Dean she successfully led the development of new undergraduate medical programs at Flinders University in the Northern Territory and for the University of Queensland in Regional Queensland. She also held national roles in both the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners as National Director of Rural Training and Indigenous Health Training (postgraduate), and as the National Medical Advisor for the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.
Doctor Strasser acted as a consultant to the University of Guyana, School of Medicine, UOG SOM, to refresh the curriculum and help regain accreditation status, with successful outcomes. Subsequently, she undertook a consultancy working with the Guyanese Department of Education and the World Bank to assist in developing an assessment strategy and blueprint for UOG SOM.
Clinically, along with being a family physician, she has worked in Public Health and was the Associate Vice President Academics and Interprofessional Health at Health Sciences North, the teaching hospital for NOSM in Sudbury. She has a distinguished track record in research, most recently for the World Health Organization (WHO) to inform the update of the WHO Global Recommendations on Recruitment and Retention for Remote and Rural Health Professionals.