Message from the President: UPEI Faculty of Medicine Update

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The following message was emailed to faculty and staff on October 27, 2022.

Dear Members of the University Community,

The development of the joint UPEI-Memorial Doctor of Medicine program has progressed a great deal over the last six months. Following our public town hall meetings and meetings with Indigenous groups in May, our committees ramped into high gear and have made tremendous strides in a number of areas.

The joint degree program is a complex project due to the nature of medical education delivery. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Cathy Vardy seconded to UPEI from Memorial as our Executive Director, UPEI Medical Program Development. Cathy has a leadership role in almost all of the 15 subcommittees that have been formed to assist with program development. I also want to thank the numerous UPEI faculty and staff members who are serving on these committees. Key activities that have been advanced include accreditation, human resources, and infrastructure planning, which are top priorities as we work towards a 2024 enrolment.

From an accreditation standpoint, we are actively preparing the submission to the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS). A parallel process will move forward through our internal channels and the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC). In order to move forward with our projected start date of Fall 2024, our first intake will start under Memorial’s current accreditation framework. Once accreditation is granted by CACMS and approval is received by MPHEC, students will be seamlessly transferred to the joint program.

With the first intake of students falling under Memorial’s accreditation for the first year, Memorial is hiring an Associate Dean, UPEI Campus, for a three-year renewable term to lead the development and delivery of the medical education program for undergraduate and postgraduate learners at the UPEI campus. The position is based in Charlottetown and reports to the Dean of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University. View the position description

UPEI announced on October 4 that Paul Young, who most recently served as Administrator of the Prince County Hospital, would be our first hire for the new Faculty of Medicine as our Chief Operating Officer. His extensive experience and excellent leadership in the health care field will be instrumental as we move forward with the development of the new Faculty of Medicine. Paul began his role this week. Welcome, Paul!

A search committee was also formed this summer for the recruitment of a founding Dean for the UPEI Faculty of Medicine. The committee engaged executive search firm Perrett Laver to assist with the search, which is now underway. The Dean of Medicine will report to the UPEI Vice-President Academic and Research and serve on a joint UPEI/Memorial executive team, consisting of the UPEI Vice-President Academic and Research, Memorial’s Provost and Vice-President Academic, and Dean of Medicine at Memorial. View the position description

To support the new UPEI Faculty of Medicine, the University will be constructing a new facility on the north campus, including an expanded UPEI Health and Wellness Centre medical clinic. The facility will include significant space and state-of-the-art simulation laboratories that will support other UPEI programs (Doctor of Psychology, Paramedicine, Nursing and Nurse Practitioner, Veterinary Medicine, etc.) in addition to Medicine. This aligns with the model of providing health care through medical homes where doctors work alongside allied health colleagues.

Many other aspects to the program are currently being developed. Medical education involves a tremendous amount of experiential learning in the third-year clerkship, senior rotations, and post-graduate residencies. Together with the Medical Society of Prince Edward Island, Health PEI, the Department of Health and Wellness, and Memorial, we have a strategic integration committee that will examine processes and resources to integrate these medical learners into the system.

I want to thank everyone for their continued support and contributions to this major undertaking. Recently, members of our community relations committee met with several NGOs to share information about the joint program, which was well received. We look forward to continuing to engage with even more stakeholders as we move forward with our plans.

And, together with members of the UPEI community, I will continue to work to advance the University as it develops this innovative and much needed program.




GREG KEEFE, DVM, MSc, MBA (he/him)
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)
University of Prince Edward Island

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