The occupational and physical therapy programs at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) are expanding, thanks to $3.3 million from the provincial government.
The addition of new training seats will ensure more patients get access to care that will improve their quality of life, while more students can train closer to home.
“More occupational and physical therapists will help improve access to care for thousands of patients and support the team-based care work underway throughout the province,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
The provincial government is providing $2.2 million to UBC for start-up and planning to expand a master of physical therapy program in the north in partnership with UNBC. The anticipated first intake of 20 first year students will take place in September 2020.
“Adding more occupational and physical therapy seats has been a call to action for years,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Our government listened and is investing in opportunities to bring education closer to home, because we know that when students live and train in the North, they are more likely to stay and work in the North.”
The physical therapy program is expected to expand with 20 first-year seats in the Fraser Valley by September 2022.
“Expanding these programs in Prince George will improve patient-health outcomes for Northerners for years to come,” said Dermot Kelleher, dean, faculty of medicine and vice-president of health, UBC. “Together with UNBC, we are grateful to government for making this expansion a reality.”
UBC will receive an additional $1.1 million to work toward expanding its master of occupational therapy program in the north in partnership with UNBC, with 16 first-year students in September 2022. The occupational therapy program will also expand by eight seats at UBC Vancouver in September 2020.
“We’re excited to be working with our partners to leverage this investment throughout the province for expansion of our health programs, including in the Fraser Valley and Vancouver,” said UBC president Santa Ono.
Occupational and physical therapists are identified as high-priority health professions. Occupational therapists support people who are recuperating from or impaired by illness, injury, developmental disorders or mental health difficulties by encouraging rehabilitation through the performance of activities required in daily life. A physiotherapist plans and implements treatment programs with a focus on prevention and mitigation of disease, injury and disability through therapeutic exercise programs.