Thursday, December 9, 2010


December 9, 2010

Grants Part of Province's Plan to Provide All Manitobans Access to a Family Doctor by 2015: Selinger

Manitoba medical students who agree to work in areas most in need of doctors will have their medical school costs fully covered by the province under a new program announced today by Premier Greg Selinger.

"Today there are 405 more doctors and 40 more medical school spaces than there were in 1999 as a result of our government's aggressive education, recruitment and retention efforts," said Selinger. "With this new program we are strengthening incentives for medical school graduates willing to work where they are needed most so that all Manitoba families can benefit from our significant investments in health care."

Under the new grant program, Manitoba medical students will be eligible for grants of $12,000 in each of their four years of medical school. Each grant requires a commitment to return six months of service to under-serviced populations upon graduation.
In their fourth year, students will have the option of taking a
$25,000 grant by committing to an additional one-year return of service. In total, students will have access to a maximum of
$61,000 over four years in exchange for a two-and-a-half-year commitment to under-serviced communities.

"Graduates who accept these grants will be providing care to many families that don't have a family doctor today," said Health Minister Theresa Oswald. "By targeting areas most in need of doctors, we are taking a significant step toward ensuring all Manitobans have access to a family doctor by 2015, regardless of where they live."

The program is open to all medical school students, whether they are pursuing family medicine degrees or areas of specialty.
Students will also still be eligible for the Manitoba tuition-tax rebate and the federal textbook rebate. When combined with the tuition- and textbook-tax rebates, students will be able to cover other costs associated with medical school studies including school-related travel and living expenses.

"We are proud to serve as Manitoba's medical school," said Dr.
Brian Postl, dean, faculty of medicine, University of Manitoba.
"This strong commitment from the provincial government will ensure all areas of the province benefit going forward."

The new grant program replaces and strengthens existing provincial medical student grants that were only available in years three and four of studies. It will be available to medical students beginning in the fall of 2011.

The most in-need under-serviced populations will be determined annually based on information from regional health authorities, Manitoba Health and the faculty of medicine. After completing their residency, students will be able to review the communities designated as under-serviced that year and apply to return service where they choose.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Congratulations Dr. Anne Durcan

Dr. Anne Durcan is the recipient of the Manitoba Family Physician of the Year Award as well being named as one of Canada's 2010 family physicians of the year by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. (Manitoba College of Family Physicians)
A physician at Winnipeg's Mount Carmel Clinic has been named one of Canada's top 10 family doctors of 2010.

Anne Durcan earned the recognition from the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) for her professional accomplishments, which include several initiatives aimed at the rural and aboriginal populations.

Since 1999, she has been one of the coordinators of the Inuit Health Program of the J. A. Hildes Northern Medical Unit. The unit provides service to hospitals and 12 nursing stations in northern Manitoba as well as eight Nunavut health centres.

She has also collaborated with Manitoba’s Office of Rural and Northern Health in developing ‘Rural Week’, an opportunity for first-year medical students at the University of Manitoba to get first-hand exposure to rural and northern medicine.

Durcan, who also mentors students at the WISH Clinic, an inner city student-run medical clinic, will be presented with the award at a ceremony at the College of Family Physicians annual Family Medicine Forum in Vancouver on Oct. 15.

She is also the recipient of the Manitoba Family Physician of the Year Award for 2010.

Durcan graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1992 and was certified in family medicine in 1994, following two years of residency training at Dalhousie University.

She practiced for two years in Nova Scotia, one year in Rankin Inlet and for the past 13 years at Mount Carmel Clinic.

Each year, the CFPC presents the Reg L. Perkin Award to one family physician from each province "in recognition of their exceptional care for patients, meaningful contributions to the health and well-being of communities, and dedication to research and teaching," states a news release from the College.

Award recipients are nominated by their peers, patients, colleagues, and community leaders.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 White Coat Ceremony - University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine

The University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine welcomed 110 new medical students at the annual Inaugural Day Exercises on August 25. The new admissions process casts a wide net to place value on applicants with a commitment to rural issues, and 49 per cent of the class has these attributes.

Of the 110 students, 104 are Manitobans and six are from out of province. Seven students, or 6 per cent, are self-declared Aboriginal. The average age is 23.3 years in the Class of 2014 with the youngest student just 19 and the oldest student 32 years of age.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


New Resources Build on Successful Strategy, Resulting in a Net Increase of 345 Doctors Since 1999: Oswald

Health Minister Theresa Oswald today announced new resources to educate, recruit and retain more doctors with a specific focus on increasing the supply of family doctors throughout Manitoba.

“We have made significant progress in increasing the number of doctors who provide front-line care to Manitobans,” Oswald said. “But this is not the time to stand still. We must focus new attention to ensure our doctor strategy continues to meet the needs of our aging population while ensuring all patients have timely access to family doctors whether they live in Winnipeg, Brandon, rural or northern Manitoba.”

The minister said the following new initiatives will build on a strategy that has resulted in a net increase of 345 doctors in Manitoba since 1999:
· Supports for Students – The University of Manitoba school of medicine will see an increase in its funding of $1 million over the next two years. These resources will be used to sustain increased enrolment at the medical school, help encourage medical students to practise family medicine in rural, northern and urban centres, and fund other school improvements.
· Affordability – Tuition fees for medical students will be held at a five per cent increase to keep the cost of attending medical school affordable. This fee increase is in line with those approved for other undergraduate students.
· Improving Access to Doctors for all Manitobans – The Manitoba government will invest in a study to examine how education, recruitment and retention initiatives can further increase the supply of doctors throughout the province, with a particular emphasis on doctors serving rural and northern areas. In addition, the study will examine the potential of a greater role for Brandon University in educating medical professionals. Further improving access to family doctors in Winnipeg and Brandon will also be studied.

For more than a decade, the Manitoba government has embarked on an aggressive strategy to increase its doctor supply including:
· increasing the number of seats at the University of Manitoba school of medicine to 110 seats from 70 in 1999,
· providing a 60 per cent tuition fee rebate up to $25,000 for medical school graduates who choose to stay and practise in Manitoba,
· offering return-of-service grants for medical students who want to practise in rural and northern Manitoba,
· creating a $500,000 rural and northern doctor relief fund,
· implementing a $500,000 physician resettlement fund, and
· creating a northern and remote family medical residency program to recruit and retain more family doctors in underserved areas.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Manitoba Graduates Record Number of Doctors

The University of Manitoba has graduated a record number of doctors this year, and hopes are high that they will stay in the province to practice.

Dean of Medicine Dr. Dean Sandham said 104 medical students collected their diplomas after a Thursday ceremony at the school's Bannatyne Avenue campus.

According to Sandham, 63 of them have agreed to do their residency training in the province.

He said it took a lot of effort to convince that many to remain.

"[It took a] tremendous effort on the part of Manitoba Health and our provincial government to make this a desirable province … to do residency," Sandham said.

The government has made efforts to boost salaries for doctors in recent years, and there are also programs in place to forgive as much as $40,000 in student loans if a graduate chooses to work in Manitoba.

The average annual salary for a family physician in the province is $200,000. Specialists average about $250,000.

Class valedictorian Joe Kim wants to stay and work in Manitoba, which is what the provincial government is hoping grads do. (CBC)Class valedictorian Joe Kim said he's eager to work as a family doctor in Portage la Prairie, a town about 80 kilometres west of Winnipeg.

"I just love rural family medicine. I get distracted very easily and get bored really easily," Kim said with a smile.

"So I need a little bit of everything, and that's what rural family medicine offers - a little bit of everything. You get to work in emergency, family clinic, maybe assist in [an] operating room, it's just really fun," he said.

Read more:

Thursday, May 13, 2010


May 13, 2010

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Premier Announces New Practical Nursing Diploma Program During National Nursing Week

The practical nursing (PN) program at Assiniboine Community College (ACC) will now provide graduates with a diploma to recognize their important role in Manitoba's health-care system, Premier Greg Selinger, Advanced Education and Literacy Minister Diane McGifford and Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

"Today during National Nursing Week we are moving forward to strengthen medical education opportunities throughout the province," said Selinger.  "These changes will help better prepare students for their crucial role in Manitoba's health-care system with broader knowledge and experience." 

"By moving to the diploma program, we will ensure that Manitoba's practical nursing graduates receive appropriate academic recognition for the demands of their training program," said McGifford. "Our strategic investments in health-care education have resulted in a range of opportunities that continue to encourage Manitobans to pursue this challenging and rewarding field."

Manitoba has invested $400,000 this year to help transition the PN program at ACC from a certificate to a diploma. The curriculum has been updated and will be introduced in classes starting this fall. The new diploma program will increase the total number of practicum hours required to graduate to 880 from 800. It will also require graduates to complete an additional 120 classroom hours in microbiology, nutrition and sociology. 

"We have trained thousands of nurses since 1999 who have brought their expertise and compassion to the front lines of patient care," said Oswald.  "We will continue to invest in nurse training, recruitment and retention initiatives that strengthen our health-care system, even in these challenging economic times."

Over the last 10 years, nearly 4,000 students have enrolled in the PN program alone. There are currently 190 practical nurse training seats available, split between Brandon (70 seats), Winnipeg (70 seats) and two rural rotating sites of 25 seats each. Admissions to the new diploma program opened in March and the first group of graduates is expected in 2012.

"ACC has been a leader in practical nursing education for over 30 years," said Karen Hargreaves, dean of the school of health and human services at Assiniboine Community College.  "We believe the diploma program will ensure that our graduates will continue to be well positioned to meet the demands of the ever-changing health-care industry."

The ministers noted that practical nurses are an important part of the health-care system whose role includes assessing and treating health conditions, promoting health and preventing illness.

"LPNs play a vital role in Manitoba's health-care system and these changes in education will allow for greater autonomy in practice," said Lynn Marks, president of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba. "The role of the LPN continues to evolve through education and training to respond to the changing needs of Manitobans and our health-care system."

There are 2,532 more nurses working in Manitoba today than in 1999, the ministers noted. The number of nurse education seats has almost doubled in that time. 

The province continues to build on the Manitoba Nursing Strategy, first introduced in March 2000. For more information on the province's nursing strategy, visit

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rural Week 2010: Rural and Northern Manitoba Communities HostFirst Year Medical Students

On May 17 - 21, one hundred and ten first-year University of Manitoba - Faculty of Medicine medical students will descend upon over 40 rural and northern Manitoba communities. Rural Week 2010 will be the eighth annual Rural Week installment where organizers from Manitoba’s Office of Rural & Northern Health and the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Medicine team up to give medical students a firsthand rural/northern medical experience.

Since the inception of Rural Week, fifty-five communities in rural & northern Manitoba as well as the remote communities of Rankin Inlet & Sanikiluaq, Nunavut have hosted first year medical students. Collectively, these communities have hosted a total of 753 students. Thirteen of these communities have participated every year the Rural Week program has operated.

During the week, students are given real-life exposure to the rewards and challenges of practicing medicine in rural and northern Manitoba, training experiences which are different than those which they more typically encounter in an urban setting.

Visit Coordinators and Preceptors in each community work together to arrange student schedules which offer a wide range of clinical exposure as well as allow for time to enjoy life outside of the city and to discover some of the many benefits of a rural/northern lifestyle. Rural Week presents communities with the opportunity to showcase themselves and promote the opportunities, challenges and benefits of rural and northern medicine.

Rural Week is a component of a broader strategy to expose medical students and residents to the rewards of rural/northern practice and rural/northern lifestyles. Other components include rural/northern exposure at various stages of medical training, rural/northern family medicine residency and financial incentives to encourage rural/northern practice. Family medicine graduates from the last two years were participants in the first two years of the Rural Week program. A number of these recent graduates are currently practicing medicine in rural/northern Manitoba and had the benefit of the Rural Week experience. These include: Dr. Jennifer St. Goddard (Portage), Dr. Elaine Csupak (Selkirk); Dr. Holly Hamilton (Notre Dame), Dr. Heather Menzies (The Pas), Dr. Joe Lines (Winkler), Dr. Heather Lehman (Winkler), Dr. Melissa Caswill (Winkler) and Dr. Sara Scott (Dauphin).

Rural Week 2010 will see students travel to the following rural & northern communities in groups of two to five students. Rural Week sites for 2010 are: Altona, Arborg, Ashern, Beausejour, Brandon, Carman, Dauphin, Eriksdale, Flin Flon, Garden Hill, Gillam, Gimli, Gladstone, Hamiota, Minnedosa, Morden, Morris, Neepawa, Niverville, Notre Dame de

Lourdes, Pinawa, Pine Falls, Poplar River, Portage la Prairie, Rankin Inlet, Red Sucker Lake/Wasagamach, Rivers, Russell, Sanikiluaq, Selkirk, St. Pierre, Ste. Anne, Ste. Rose du lac, Steinbach, Stonewall, Swan Lake/Somerset, Swan River, The Pas, Thompson, Winkler.

On Friday May 21 at 7 pm, students will reassemble at a central site to discuss their varied experiences during the week.

This valuable learning experience is possible through the commitment of community volunteers and the physicians who have agreed to act as preceptors/teachers to the students.

Press Release Document

For more information contact:

Dr. Don Klassen Wayne Heide
Medical Director Administrative Director
Office of Rural & Northern Health Office of Rural & Northern Health
Telephone: (204) 331-4703 Telephone: (204) 622-6210
E-mail: E-mail:

Friday, April 23, 2010


April 15, 2010

Nearly 500 More Nurses Working in Manitoba This Year after Record Number of Doctors Added Last Year: Oswald

According to new data from Manitoba’s nursing colleges, 498 more nurses are practising in Manitoba today compared to this time last year, representing the province’s largest-recorded annual increase, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“Since our government launched our nursing strategy 10 years ago, we have invested aggressively in education, recruitment and retention of nurses,” said Oswald. “Today we are seeing the results of this strategy with a record-setting increase in the number of nurses working for Manitobans.”

The number of practising Manitoba nurses has climbed every year since 2000, to 16,624 in 2009 from 14,092 in 2000, a net increase of 2,532.

Manitoba continues to invest in nurse training, recruitment and retention initiatives consisting of targeted programs that help attract and keep nurses in northern and rural communities including:
· a relocation assistance program that has benefited 1,286 nurses by providing up to $8,000 to cover the costs of moving to this province, with 421 nurses choosing to work in rural Manitoba;
· a grant program for new nurse graduates who choose to work in rural Manitoba;
· an ongoing recruitment campaign to attract nurses from other provinces and other countries including more than 100 new nurses from the Philippines; and
· nearly doubling the number of training seats for nurses at post-secondary institutions across Manitoba since 1999.

Updated nursing workforce data, including a breakdown of active practising Manitoba nurses, training data, information on recruitment initiatives and an update on total funded, filled and vacant positions, is available at

“Managing health care during difficult economic times is about choices,” said Oswald. “Our government’s choice at this time is to continue to invest rather than cut front-line services as has been done in the past when times were tough.”

Data from the colleges’ annual reports indicate the province gained 467 registered nurses, 23 licensed practical nurses and 16 nurse practitioners in the past year.

The new numbers represent a net gain of 943 nurses in three years, already surpassing the government’s 2007 commitment of adding 700 nurses over four years, said Oswald.