PE Ledger

As the senior health official raises concerns, work on a new UPEI medical school is beginning

According to the CEO of Health PEI, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Officials stated progress is being made to get the University of Prince Edward Island’s Faculty of Medicine up and running with less than two years until it opens — but the president of Health PEI admits the timeframe is ambitious and significant barriers remain.

The co-degree programme, which collaborates with Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador, was announced earlier this fall, along with plans to expand UPEI’s nursing programme and health centre.

The timings would be different without the relationship with MUN, according to UPEI president and vice-chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. However, the initial batch of Island students is expected to arrive in September 2023.

“If we had to do everything on our own, it would have taken us around five years,” Abd-El-Aziz added.

“However, collaborating with Memorial will enable us to give a high-quality degree while also obtaining approval from the certifying agency, ideally within two years.”

The two institutions have a vast list of items to complete, ranging from facilities to professors.

A request for bids for the building that will contain the college of medicine, the extended nursing programme, the doctor of psychology programme, and UPEI’s health clinic, which will function as a teaching location, has already closed, according to Abd-El-Aziz.

In the interim, numerous working groups are being formed, according to Dr. Margaret Steele, dean of Memorial University’s college of medicine.

One is an accreditation group, according to Steele, which will help expedite the accreditation process for the new co-degree, the two universities are working on a combined doctor of medicine degree.

She estimates that the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools will take roughly 18 months to complete.

A community engagement group is also being formed, collaborating with hospitals, local physicians, cities and municipalities, regulatory authorities, and the medical society. Early in 2022, community participation should begin.

A working committee will also look into admittance requirements and one that will focus on faculty development, adapting what is now taught at Memorial to the programme at UPEI.

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