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From left to right: Health Minister Bruce Fitch; New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation executive director Alyssa Long; foundation board chair Dr. Michael Simon; and Rothesay MLA Ted Flemming. Image: Brad Perry

N.B. announces $2.5M in medical student scholarships

By Brad Perry Apr 27, 2023 | 6:52 AM

New Brunswick is investing $2.5 million over the next five years in a new medical student scholarship fund.

The scholarship fund is expected to help as many as 300 medical students pay for some of the tuition.

In turn, it will help retain more physicians in a province that the health minister said currently has more than 200 vacancies.

“It’s a significant return on investment,” Health Minister Bruce Fitch told reporters after Wednesday’s announcement.

“The support we are showing today is one more example of our commitment to ensuring a well-staffed medical system for the people of New Brunswick.”

The fund will be delivered through the New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation, which already offers dozens of scholarships to students from the province who are enrolled in an accredited Canadian program.

Dr. Michael Simon, co-chair of the foundation’s board, said for every year a student receives the scholarship, they commit to working in New Brunswick for one year.

When it comes to keeping doctors in the province after the commitment, Simon said he does not anticipate that will be an issue.

“Once you start into a practice, you become bonded to your patients, you’re inside a hospital community of other doctors, you put down social roots and those roots tend to keep people in an area,” said Simon.

The commitment made by the province is the largest contribution ever received by the foundation, he said.

Simon said he believes the new scholarships will eventually help thousands of patients across the province.

“The family doctors, you’ll have maybe 1,000 or 2,000 extra patients they’ll take on, but a pediatrician or surgeon, they cover thousands of extra patients,” he said.

Since its inception in 2010, the New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation has supported 233 medical students with more than $2 million in scholarships.

To date, Simon said 179 scholarship recipients have committed to practice in medicine once they graduate, and 36 alumni are already working in the province.

“By any measure, that’s a definition of success,” he said. “Thanks to today’s announcement, it’s only going to get better.”


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