The Northern Medical Programs Trust was established to connect students with communities, growing the success of the Northern Medical Program and other health care education programs in building stronger health care in northern communities.
On June 22, 2000 close to 6,000 people packed the CN Centre in Prince George to express their concern with health service in the North, and its impact on the quality of life for communities. This rally laid the foundation for a transformation of both UNBC and the region as a whole.
The Northern Medical Program (NMP) was born – a result of a partnership involving UBC, UNBC and the Northern Health Authority. In 2004 the NMP’s first students were admitted and today there are up to 128 medical students in northern BC at any given time.
The NMP's first class graduated in 2008.
Concurrent with the development of the NMP, communities around northern BC joined forces with UNBC to establish the Northern Medical Programs Trust (NMPT). The NMPT has been established with donations from individuals, corporations, municipalities and service organizations. About two dozen municipalities and regional districts have joined the NMPT and made financial commitments to support the education and retention of health professionals in northern and rural communities.
All donations are in support of community pledges that are based on population. Earnings from the endowment support student grants and special projects that increase students’ exposure to life and practice in northern communities. To date, almost $9.5 million has been raised and supports annual disbursements of approximately $250,000.
Surpassing the original fundraising goal of $6 million has given northern communities the opportunity to expand support beyond medicine. In 2010 the NMPT expanded its support to include students in the Master’s Family Nurse Practitioner program. In 2015 support was approved for undergraduate Nursing, with funds added to an existing endowment that provides awards to Nursing students who pursue clinical experiences in rural and remote locations.
Continued gifts are vital to ensure that we can continue to support these students and encourage them to pursue careers in the north.