Spotlight: NMP Site Directors of the Curriculum Leadership Team

June 20, 2022
NMP Curriculum Leadership Team
The team includes (L-R, top row) Dr Sean Maurice/MEDD Site Director, Yrs 1 & 2; Dr Jessica Zimbler/Clinical Skills Site Director (Yrs 1/2); Dr.Richard Lazenby/Flexible Enhanced Learning (FLEX) Site Director; Dr Gerrard Prigmore/Family Practice Site Director (Yrs 1/2); (bottom row) Dr Devin Spooner/Yr 3 Clerkship Director; Dr Kathleen O'Malley/Yr 4 Electives Director; Dr Keri Closson/Transition into Postgrad & Professional Practice (TIPP) Site Director; Dr Julia Wimmers-Klick/Portfolio Site Lead.

Ensuring the delivery of high-quality medical education in northern B.C., semester after semester, is a big task, and thanks to our curriculum team, the Northern Medical Program continues to provide students with the best opportunities available upon which to build their medical knowledge and foundational practices.

As part of the curriculum team, NMP Curriculum Site Directors coordinate learning experiences across all four-years of the UBC Faculty of Medicine's MD Undergraduate Program (MDUP) curriculum in Northern BC. The Site Directors support specific areas of learning within the curriculum in collaboration with our other education leads, including Discipline Specific Site Leads (DSSL), ICC Site Directors, Simulation Lead, Faculty Development and the NMP curriculum and assessment staff. From Year 1 lectures given by northern physicians to Year 4 electives which provide final training experiences ahead of graduation, the team is always busy and focused on providing the best training possible for our students.

“I’ve been the NMP FP director for the last 15 years,” says Dr. Prigmore, family practice physician in Prince George and NMP Family Practice Site Director. “What I’ve enjoyed most is meeting our students at the very beginning of their medical training and seeing them gradually develop from civilians to capable and compassionate physicians over the following few years. It has been a joy to be part of the development of the Family Practice experience, as it has expanded through the implementation of the distributed model, and been moulded by Curriculum Renewal.”

In addition to undertaking their curriculum support activities for the NMP from an on-the-ground perspective, the team also represents the program on numerous committees, including locally-focused initiatives as well as connecting and collaborating with their provincial counterparts and teams at the MDUP program.  A key part of this liaison work is to ensure that local NMP experiences are comparable to those across the province and to meet ongoing accreditation standards.

“Together with staff and other NMP team leaders, our Curriculum Site Directors are critical to implementing the provincial curriculum at our NMP program site,” notes Paul Winwood, head of the NMP. “We are so fortunate to have such an amazing and cohesive team of curriculum leaders.”

The team is also focused on ensuring ongoing continued recruitment of regional physician colleagues as preceptors for our NMP students, an extremely critical aspect of medical education delivery in the north. They also help to support students in their pursuit of education, oversee curriculum evaluations and student assessments, and promote the pursuit of rural medicine knowledge and excellence in training. 

But, the key emphasis of the team always remains our students.

“What I enjoy most is witnessing the medical students develop over the four years and graduate into outstanding physicians,” says Dr. O’Malley, family practice physician in Prince George and NMP Year 4 Electives Director, “particularly these past three years, over the pandemic, where they have demonstrated such resiliency to all the changes and challenges in medicine. It has been a pleasure working with the NMP year 4 students as they have shown such patience and understanding to all the challenges the program has faced with the pandemic. 

And the personal rewards for the team are often seen well beyond the four years of the MDUP student journey.

“I have had the pleasure of being in this role for the past eight years and there are many parts of it that are truly rewarding,” explains Dr. Spooner, ER physician in Prince George and Year 3 Clerkship Director. “Every year, it still amazes me to see how the students' knowledge, experience and confidence grow as they transition into the clinical environment. 

“The progression is really impressive and inspiring.  In my clinical roles as either an ER or provincial transport physician, it is always a great source of pride when I have the opportunity to liaise with these former students that are now practicing physicians.”