I am writing to congratulate guest editor, Dr Angus Rae and the contributing authors of the September issue of the BCMJ (2005;47(7):341-408) on their excellent review of mentoring and educating our medical students and young practitioners. I could not agree more that mentors have a pivotal role to play in the teaching and shaping of the physicians of tomorrow. I would also offer that many of the initiatives promoted by Dr Rae and the other authors are embodied in the expanded and distributed model of medical education that is well underway at UBC with our UVic and UNBC partners and clinicians throughout the province. Meeting the needs of all people of the province and training generalists and specialists in the places we hope they will live and work is an underpinning principle of the medical training program in BC.
I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight our volunteer mentor program for medical students in the MD degree program at UBC. We currently have 83 volunteers mentoring small groups of our medical students in Vancouver, with dedicated mentors also in place in Victoria and Prince George to assist with the Island Medical Program and Northern Medical Program respectively.
Interested physicians and those wishing to learn more of our mentor program are encouraged to contact either Victoria Lambert at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr Bruce Fleming at 604 875-4500.
Thank you one and all for highlighting this most important subject.
—Bruce Fleming, MD
Associate Dean, Student Affairs
Faculty of Medicine, UBC
The papers on mentorship assembled by Dr Angus Rae in the September issue of the BCMJ (2005;47(7):341-408) were very relevant. As a career-long mentor in family medicine, I struggled to convey to learners that the patient living within his or her unique context is always greater than the sum of the parts.
In the UBC communication skills course and as a PBL facilitator, I discovered that entry-level students usually prioritized holistic concepts which then reduced as students became immersed in their quest for specific information and skill.
Mentors are needed by all of us whether we are students, residents, or practising physicians. Perhaps the renaming of the division of CME at UBC to the Division of Continuing Professional Development and Knowledge Translation (CPD-KT) is a sign that our profession is moving toward the concepts espoused in your excellent papers.
—Arthur Van Wart, MD
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