A committee has been formed to work toward establishing a residency site in Fort McMurray. The site would be part of the University of Alberta’s family medicine residency training program. Through the program, medical students and family medicine residents complete their training in the local hospital and community.

“Alberta’s government is proud to support this committee as it looks at setting up a family medicine residency site in the Fort McMurray area. A successful residency site will play an important role in attracting physicians to the region and give local residents more access to the health care they need.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

The committee, led by members of the University of Alberta, will talk with Fort McMurray residents and relevant stakeholder groups about opportunities, issues and support for the residency site.    

“I’m extremely happy to be a key contributor to this long-term solution to Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo’s health deficits. I’m proud to be part of a government that is listening to its citizens.”

Tany Yao, MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo

“I am excited to be part of this committee to work on concrete measures to improve health care within this region. We will be seeking advice from medical professionals and community members to make a made-in-Fort McMurray model to serve our region for the long term.”

Laila Goodridge, MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche

“The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is proud of its rural and remote training programs. We are very pleased to be involved in re-establishing Fort McMurray as one of our key training sites for the University of Alberta Family Medicine Residency Program and for our medical school. We know that this program will benefit not only the students and residents who train there, but the local community in the north, which is a part of our social accountability mandate and meeting the health-care needs of Albertans.”

Dr. Shirley Schipper, vice-dean of education, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta

Establishing the family medicine residency site will be an incremental process designed to evolve and grow educational opportunities in the community over the next few years.

Government will provide financial support to the committee and its engagement activities through an existing physician education grant with the University of Alberta.

Strengthening programs such as this are part of the government’s strategy to improve access to physician services in rural communities. Evidence shows that positive learning experiences in rural health-care settings lead to more physicians choosing to pursue careers in rural practice.

Quick facts

Committee members include:

  • Dr. Johannes Bouwer, community physician
  • Dr. Lawrence Cheung, associate dean, postgraduate medical education, University of Alberta
  • Dr. John Chmelicek, residency program director, Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta
  • Laila Goodridge, MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche
  • Robert Kielly, medical affairs director, North Zone, Alberta Health Services
  • Dr. Brian Muir, medical director, North Zone, Alberta Health Services
  • Dr. John O’Connor, community physician
  • Dr. Darryl Rolfson, associate dean, undergraduate medical education, University of Alberta
  • Tany Yao, MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo
  • Director, Office of Rural and Regional Health, University of Alberta (currently vacant)