Kawartha Lakes and Alliston joins DFCM as new clerkship training sites

Oct 9, 2019

Two new rural family health teams have recently joined the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine as training sites for family medicine clerkship students. Medical students will soon be able to learn from doctors and health professionals at Ross Memorial Hospital in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Stevenson Memorial Hospital in the community of Alliston in the Town of New Tecumseth.

Training in a rural community offers different experiences and opportunities for medical students. With fewer students training in these areas and fewer specialists available in the area, students will experience the full scope, depth and diversity that family medicine has to offer.

“Working in a rural community takes students away from city life and gives them first-hand experience as to what rural medicine means. It shows them how big Canada is and how necessary rural doctors are,” says Dr. Modar Safar, a family doctor and a new preceptor in Alliston. “It also gets them out of the comfort of having all the resources that a big city has to offer, such as relying on those in specialty fields to do things for them.”

In Alliston, for instance, medical students are exposed to maternity care, emergency medicine, palliative care and everything in between.

Dr. Azadeh Moaveni, the undergraduate program director at the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) is pleased to welcome both Kawartha Lakes and Alliston as two of their clerkship locations.

“Kawartha Lakes and Alliston will benefit from gaining trainees who are eager to learn about their patients and community and who will hopefully consider coming back to practice there one day,” says Dr. Moaveni.

Teachers at the two training sites agree with Dr. Moaveni and hope that this new opportunity will inspire students to return once they complete their residency. For many students, this will be their first experience in a community with a family physician.

“The more opportunities we can provide medical students to experience life in the City of Kawartha Lakes, the more young doctors will be encouraged to practice here,” said Dr. Bharat Chawla, the chief of medical staff at Ross Memorial Hospital.

Both the City of Kawartha Lakes and the community of Alliston are looking forward to welcoming more medical students to their training sites in the future and are grateful to the doctors and health professionals in their communities who are teaching the next generation of doctors.

“This initiative would not be possible without our local family physicians taking on the role of preceptors,” said Barbara van der Veen, the president of Kawartha Lakes Health Care Initiative (KLHCI). “Their experience and enthusiasm to teach is integral to the clerks’ knowledge base, on which all further learning is founded.”