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North Island College launches pre-health program, streamlines medical and health students

North Island College says its new program will help respond to a growing demand for health science and medical professionals in the area.

The university-level Island pre-health science program is now accepting applications and will have the first intake starting in September. The college says it is a “jumping off point” for students wanting to work in medicine, optometry, health science research and other fields.

Students will learn about their communities for deeper roots, according to NIC. They add it will provide rural and Island framework to identify challenges and opportunities in North Island communities.

Faculty of Arts, Science and Management dean Dr. Neil Cruickshank says it is designed to bring a holistic understanding of health science issues.

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“Combining foundational science courses with social scientific approaches, Indigenous ways of knowing and a community-learning strategy, students will gain incredibly valuable transferable skills and knowledge,” said Cruickshank.

Student Vincent Michaud is preparing to go into the field and says the program will help others like him to do their prerequisites closer to home.

“It would allow me to stay in my local area longer and strengthen ties with local partners before starting my medical practice, which would improve my desire to come back here as a doctor,” said Michaud.

“The community of students it would form would allow me to interact with like-minded peers and form study groups for various extracurricular tests like the medical college admission test.”

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The program will be based in the Comox Valley with a mix of lecture-and-lab, tutorial and lecture only courses.

NIC adds one of the driving factors for the program includes the area having an estimated 17,000 individuals in need of a primary care provider.

A virtual information session about the program will be held on Feb. 23 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. More information can be found on the NIC website.

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