Local foundation aims to increase access to healthcare in New Brunswick
It’s no secret… Recent medical staffing shortages have reduced patient access to healthcare. As more physicians head toward retirement, we see an ever-widening gap in our ability to deliver modern healthcare solutions to our New Brunswick population. And this directly impacts our region’s ability to attract and retain top talent.
Enhancing access to primary care is one of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s 5 core priorities, and in a recent survey, it was the number one issue concerning chamber members. To position the region for continued growth, we must work together to increase the number of physicians in our communities.
The New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation (NBMEF) is a private not-for-profit foundation dedicated to attracting and retaining physicians in the province. Founded in 2010, it has a unique and innovative program: the foundation raises funds to offer return-to-service scholarships to New Brunswick medical students, ensuring a pipeline of future physicians are ready to practice in New Brunswick. It is the first of its kind in Canada.
“Every one of us will require the services of a medical expert over our lifetime,” says Dr. Michael Simon, Co-Chair of the NBMEF’s Board of Directors. “There is no separation between what we are trying to achieve as a foundation and what will benefit our families and communities.”
Every student who receives a scholarship signs a pledge to practice in New Brunswick for one year. Multiple-year recipients therefore pledge multiple years of service in the province.
In 2022, the foundation awarded a record 66 scholarships, totaling $455,000, to deserving New Brunswick medical students. This equates to 66 pledged years of service, or the lifetime careers of two-family physicians. There are 36 program alumni currently practicing in New Brunswick, and 179 scholarship recipients who have pledged to practice in the province following graduation.
Fredericton has a significant need. More than 20,000 people in our health zone are on the waitlist for a family doctor. Each year, The New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation receives approximately 120 applications for financial assistance. At its current capacity, only half of these talented students can receive funding.
You can play a vital role in reducing barriers – both the financial barriers medical students face, and barriers to primary care across New Brunswick. Consider making a donation or creating a medical education scholarship to ensure tomorrow’s doctors make Fredericton their home.
For more information, please reach out to Alyssa Long (email@example.com) or visit https://www.nbmeded.ca/.