Class of 2024

Curriculum Delivery Update (Updated on January 21, 2022)

Dear members of the MD Undergraduate Program,

We are aware of some confusion regarding the status of curriculum delivery for the MD Undergraduate Program for Winter Term 2.

For clarification, we continue to offer a blended virtual and in-person education delivery approach for the MD Undergraduate Program that will operate up until to February 7, 2022, pending confirmation by the University. This interim arrangement is pedagogically based, with the intention of maintaining academic continuity and student experiences, and is fully aligned with the University’s policies and approach for the return to in-person education delivery. The University has committed to providing an update on the return to in-person learning during the week of 24 January.

Yesterday, we shared with you a key message document dated January 20, 2022, from the UGME PEP Task Force, representing some of the conversations we’ve had recently, including curriculum delivery updates. However, the document suggested that decisions have been made that are still subject to discussion and approval by the Faculty of Medicine. We are continuing to work with the Office of the Dean to ensure broader and full alignment with the Faculty and University’s approach for return to in-person education delivery. In the meantime, we are asking members to set aside the curriculum delivery updates and recommendations contained in the document to allow for further discussions to take place.
We continue to recognize and hear concerns and questions from students, staff and faculty. We wish to reassure you that we remain fully committed to working together to enable the full return to in-person education delivery in alignment with the University’s overall approach.

Dr. Cheryl L. Holmes
(she, her/s)
MD, FRCPC, MHPE Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education
Clinical Professor and Head Division of Critical Care
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia

Dr. Paul Winwood
Regional Associate Dean Northern BC, UBC
Associate Vice President, Division of Medical Sciences, UNBC
University of Northern BC
3333 University Way
Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9

Gross Anatomy Labs (Updated on January 11, 2022)

Dear Years 1 and 2 Students:

We understand that there are some concerns regarding the decision to hold in person Gross Anatomy Labs. Given this, and in the spirit of transparency, we’d like to reiterate here the rationale behind this decision and also address some of the suggestions/concerns that have been brought forward by your Class Presidents:

Rationale for Decision Making:

As per the Faculty of Medicine Memorandum sent on December 22nd: “In-person experiential learning and practical/clinical experiences will continue in WT2, including: clinical skills training, clinical practicum, clinical rotations and practical laboratories.

Given this, the Regional Associate Deans at all Sites agreed that from all Labs, the GA Labs are those that most benefit from being delivered in person. The reasons for this are two-fold:

  • cadaveric dissection cannot be replaced virtually and
  • virtual GA labs were poorly received last academic year by both the Classes of 2024 and 2023, who felt very disadvantaged by missing out on the opportunity to learn anatomy through hands-on cadaveric dissection.

Therefore, the MDUP Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness (PEP) Task Force has decided that the practical objectives of gross anatomy labs are best delivered in person when/where possible and thus all four sites will be returning to in person delivery of gross anatomy labs after the first three weeks of Term 2.

Safety Measures:

We do wish to reassure students that we continue to follow all PHO and UBC/UVic/UNBC safety measures, as we have been doing since the start of the pandemic. These measures have been very successful in ensuring safety and minimizing spread in the past. If at any moment these change, we will update our GA lab delivery plans accordingly.  We follow public health guidelines in healthcare environments for which medical masks and hand hygiene are deemed appropriate.  See also:

Brooks JT, Beezhold DH, Noti JD, et al. Maximizing Fit for Cloth and Medical Procedure Masks to Improve Performance and Reduce SARS-CoV-2 Transmission and Exposure, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:254–257. DOI:

Further to this, and to ensure students will NOT come to in-person labs if they are feeling unwell OR if for whatever reason they do not feel safe/comfortable attending in-person Labs, we will NOT be officially tracking student attendance at the labs and students will NOT be asked to submit absence forms.

Additional Resources Provided for Studying:

As we do not have the resources to provide simultaneous in-person AND virtual Labs, all virtual resources that were created last academic year are still available and can be freely accessed by all students. These include:

Please note that regardless of whether students attend the in-person labs or choose to study independently using the resources listed above, students are responsible for the objectives associated with each lab, and that content will be assessed in the Lab Exams.

We hope this addresses your concerns and explains the rationale for the decisions that were made. We understand and recognize these decisions are not ideal, but given the circumstances, we believe this plan provides a good compromise to address the current situation while preserving opportunities for in-person learning that cannot be easily replicated in the virtual environment.

Best Wishes,

Dr. Joana Gil-Mohapel, Associate Director of Curriculum, Years 1&2

Updates to Curriculum Delivery – All sites: (Updated on January 4, 2022)

Further to our key messages on December 23, 2021, we are continuing with virtual/online delivery until January 24, 2022.

What this means for the Years 1 and 2 of the MDUP:

Until January 24th 2022 the various curricular components will be delivered as follows:

Lectures/Large Group Sessions/Seminars/Workshops: virtual synchronous delivery over Zoom at all 4 Sites.

CBL/FoS/FLEX/Portfolio Small Group Sessions: virtual synchronous delivery over Zoom at all 4 Sites.

Histopathology and Neuroanatomy Labs: virtual synchronous delivery over Zoom at all 4 Sites.

Gross Anatomy Labs: IN PERSON delivery at SMP, IMP and VFMP starting on January 10th.  VIRTUAL delivery at NMP until January 24th; NMP students will be contacted separately.

Clinical Skills and Family Practice: IN PERSON delivery at all 4 Sites (with the exception of most Family Practice Seminars, which will be delivered virtually; please refer to your Site-specific schedule for more details).


Click below to view previous key messages:

(Updated on July 2, 2020)

Due to the provincial restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the Fall 2020 semester, UBC will offer larger classes primarily online, with select smaller classes conducted in-person, while adhering to physical distancing and other public health requirements.

The MD Undergraduate Medical Program (MDUP) is dedicated to ensuring face-to-face instruction where safe and possible to do so, and high-quality online instruction as an alternative. We will share further details about delivery of specific sessions as decisions continue to be finalized.

Year 1 Term 1 | Fall Courses: As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial regulations, health authority and university directives, the current plan is to deliver the various components of

MEDD411 | Foundations of Medical Practice I:

  • Orientation: Introductory and didactic sessions to be delivered online either synchronously (through Zoom) or asynchronously (through recordings). The Year 1 Student Orientation Committee to organize both in-person and online activities outside of curriculum time to support community building and student collaboration where possible. The proposed program plan is to organize in-person registration the week before classes (August 17 - 21). Please note that this is currently under review by the university.
  • Lectures and Large/Medium-Sized Group Sessions: Will be delivered online either synchronously (through Zoom) or asynchronously (through recordings).
  • Labs: Gross anatomy (GA), radiology, histology and pathology content will be delivered online either synchronously (through Zoom) or asynchronously (through recordings). Extra-curricular teaching and support, with in-person access to the GA lab is being explored in the context of facility access and building capacities at each site.
  • Case-Based Learning (CBL): Cluster A (September 2 - October 5) will be delivered online via Zoom at all sites. Cluster B (October 5 - November 6) & Cluster C (November 9 - December 11) will be delivered online via Zoom for VFMP students. For SMP, NMP and IMP students, Clusters B and/or C may be delivered through a blended model (i.e., a combination of in-person and online sessions) with students attending a number of CBL sessions in person over the duration of the CBL course. The outcome of this decision will depend on local University (UBC-O, UNBC, and UVic) directives for implementation of provincial regulations.
  • Clinical Skills: Weeks 3 - 11 (Communication Skills) and 12 - 14 (Clinical Skills) will be delivered online. These online sessions will be followed by Week 15 - Introduction to the Physical Examination, to be delivered in-person. (Approval for on-site (in-person) sessions are currently under review by the university.)
  • Family Practice: Lectures will be online. Seminars will be mostly online aside from two in-person sessions, pending review and approval by the university. The delivery of office visits will be guided by the practice of individual preceptors, with both in person and virtual/telehealth opportunities.

MEDD419 | Foundations of Scholarship/FLEX: online delivery with both synchronous and asynchronous options under consideration.

Location: Students are expected to be at their designated sites on August 24, 2020.

Students are highly encouraged to attend in-person registration the week before the start of classes (August 17 - 21). Further details about the in-person registration will be shared as soon as the registration sessions are approved and confirmed.

Academic Calendar: The academic calendar is available here. Please note that individual schedules for Family Practice will be available in mid-August and the first face-to-face sessions will be scheduled in September.

Shadowing: Current policy and restrictions due to COVID-19 do not allow for ANY medical student shadowing of physicians by Year 1 or Year 2 students.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to UBC MD Student Affairs at

Best Regards,

Dr. Peter Choi and Dr. Karen Pinder, MEDD 411 Course Co-Directors

Updates to Curriculum and Assessment Delivery - all sites (Updated on December 21, 2021)

The Faculty of Medicine (the Faculty) recognizes that we are entering a period of maximum uncertainty with respect to the evolving pandemic situation. The Faculty is actively engaged in the development of a number of response strategies and plans so that we can continue to deliver high-quality education programs while maintaining the safety, health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, patients and the communities we serve.

Therefore, following the UBC Broadcast sent yesterday, the Faculty announced implementing a precautionary WT2 blended virtual and in-person approach that will operate until January 24, 2022, for all Faculty of Medicine educational programs – with the exception of postgraduate medical education residency programs, and programs whereby graduate students and postdoctoral trainees work in research laboratories.

This interim arrangement is pedagogically based, with the intention of maintaining academic continuity and student experiences during the rapidly evolving pandemic situation. Ultimately, the goal is to enable the eventual transition back to fully in-person learning and instruction later in WT2.

As per the announcement, both UBC academic campuses will remain open and all libraries, student housing and services will be available.  Research and scholarship activities on UBC campuses continue within current safety plans.  The Faculty will continue to monitor the situation and is committed to providing further updates as new information becomes available in the new year.

What this means for you:

Curriculum:  Case-based Learning (CBL), lectures, tutorials, seminars (including Family Practice seminars) and labs including gross anatomy labs will be delivered virtually.

Clinical Skills will continue provided that all participants and attendees will satisfy all public health requirements including the use of appropriate PPE, medical masks, as well as the PHO Order on mandatory vaccination as clinical skills will take place on care locations as defined by the Order.

Family practice office visits will occur and are anticipated to be delivered in person at the discretion of the Family Practice preceptors.

While the decision has been made to move curricular activities online, students are still required to be at their sites starting January 4th as clinical experiences (Clinical Skills and Family Practice) will continue to be delivered in person.  These sessions cannot be made up.

Assessment:  The Progress test on January 6, 2022 will move online.  Supplemental and deferral exams will remain in person. The Assessment team will send out a separate communication.

Extra-curricular Experiences (Shadowing) is on hold for Years 1 and 2 students as of today until further notice, as we assess the readiness of our clinical preceptors and their workload.  We will update you mid-January.

Vaccination:  Please register for the 3rd (booster) dose of  the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, follow these steps to self-identify as a health care worker:

  1. Have the following information ready: Personal Health Number, date of birth, date of a previous COVID-19 vaccine (either dose 1 or dose 2)
  2. Go to the Get Vaccinated provincial website for COVID-19 boosters 3. Use this Health Authority (employer) validation code: Y6383E!

For more information about the booster shot process, please see our previous key message here.

Travel: Please note that the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, to avoid non-essential travel internationally.  For more information, visit

Health and Safety

Guidelines for Patient Encounters for Years 1 and 2 Students in the MD Undergraduate Program (Updated on December 13, 2021)

The COVID-19 guidelines for Year 1/2 Family Practice visits aligns with the Guidelines for MDUP Student Shadowing (Years 1 and 2) during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Students in Years 1 and 2 have not been mask-fit tested to N95 respirators and would thus not be able to utilize appropriate precautions for patients who may have the COVID-19 virus.

We recommend and acknowledge that:

  1. Provincial, Individual health authority, hospital sites and department guidelines still apply, including wearing face coverings in public indoors spaces and wearing medical masks when in health care facilities.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and appropriate clinical supervision must be available (Students have not received respirator fit testing and and must not participate in any activity that requires an N95 mask).
  3. The appropriate patient encounter decision lies with the clinical Preceptor/Attending Physician and team.
  4. Students have the right to refuse unsafe work without fear of academic penalty.
  5. We recommend students NOT participate on COVID wards or wards under an outbreak.
  6. Students will be required to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status in accordance with Provincial Health Orders.

What Patient Encounters can Year 1 and 2 MDUP students participate in during their clinical experiences?

Reducing Risk of Communicable Diseases (Updated on December 2, 2021)

Dear students,

Part of the personal measures we utilize to reduce the risk of communicable diseases, including COVID-19, on campus, is to ensure students, faculty and staff do not participate in any activities (educational or otherwise) if they are sick.  As a reminder to the previous key message regarding attendance and absences from October 6, 2021 (excerpt below), students are not to attend in-person sessions when experiencing active respiratory/COVID-like symptoms.  When completing your daily self-assessment, make sure to follow the directions provided, get tested as recommended, and self-isolate until you are no longer sick.  This is an important part of our UBC Campus Rules and the Return to Campus Public Health Guidance.

 Attendance and Absences during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Updated on October 6, 2021)

  • IF a student cannot attend an in-person session due to a requirement to self-isolate due to COVID infection, COVID exposure or presentation of COVID-like symptoms AND is well enough to continue with their studies, mitigation strategies may include permission for students to attend small group sessions virtually. These arrangements would be made in collaboration with your Site Director, see Supplement to Policy 006 Procedure for Unforeseen Absence due to COVID. This document reinforces that there is no expectation for students to attend in-person or virtually if they are unwell.
  • IF a student cannot attend an in-person session due to a requirement to self-isolate due to COVID infection, COVID exposure or presentation of COVID-like symptoms, AND is well enough to continue with their studies but is unable to connect with the respective Site Director to establish an immediate plan, they may reach out to a fellow student and/or their tutor or preceptor to connect to a specific session virtually, using their personal Zoom account. However, this will need to be communicated to the respective Site Director as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Vaccine 3rd (Booster) dose availability (Updated on November 25, 2021)

Students with placements between now and the end of January can choose to register for a COVID-19 vaccination booster dose and select the category that corresponds with their placement setting, by following these instructions:

  • Self-identify as a health care worker for COVID-19 booster dose.  Health care workers in specific settings are a priority for a booster shot, between now and the end of January.
  • In order to receive an invitation for your booster dose when you become eligible, you must be registered in the Get Vaccinated online system and will need to self-identify as a health care worker in one of the five categories.  You will need to select the category based on your current or upcoming placementFor the Classes of 2024 and 2025, Family Practice visits fall in category 5.  The categories are:
    1. Long term care and assisted living staff, physicians and workers (everyone working on site or entering these facilities for work purposes)
    2. Hospital critical care, emergency department and medicine unit staff, physicians and workers (everyone working on site in the listed care areas)
    3. Other hospital staff, physicians and workers(everyone working in areas of the hospital not covered by category 2, including paramedics, hospital based corrections or mental health staff and corporate/administrative staff working on site)
    4. Health authority community staff, physicians and workers(all staff working in non-hospital areas, including corporate/administrative staff not included in categories 1, 2 or 3)
    5. Other community staff, physicians and workers(all non-Health Authority providers, staff and other workers in the community health sector)
  • As soon as possible, follow these steps to self-identify as a health care worker:
    1. Have the following information ready: Personal Health Number, date of birth, date of a previous COVID-19 vaccine (either dose 1 or dose 2)
    2. Go to theGet Vaccinated provincial website for COVID-19 boosters
    3. Use this Health Authority (employer) validation code:Y6383E!
    4. After entering the information above, you will be redirected to a second page to indicate the category you fall into. You will be asked to certify that the information provided is accurate. If any of the information you enter does not match what is on file, you may be redirected to contact the call centre for assistance and to verify your information.
  • Once you complete these steps, you will be notified when it’s your turn to book an appointment. We ask for your patience and cooperation as booster vaccinations are provided based on eligibility. Drop-ins at clinics or pharmacies are not permitted for booster doses.
  • This self-identification link and access code are intended only for identified health care workers at this time. By choosing to self-identify through this service, you are acknowledging that you have received this code from your employer.
  • This link and code are not transferrable. If the code is misused it will be cancelled and the ability to continue with vaccination through this program may be compromised. Anyone booking an appointment who is not eligible will be turned away at the clinic.
  • If you’re unable to register online, you can call 1-833-838-2323. You can learn more about booster doses on the C. Government website.

Vaccine Mandate Order for Health Care Workers in BC (Updated on October 26, 2021)

To comply with the Hospital and Community (Health Care and Other Services) COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information and Preventive Measures PHO Order, UBC will be verifying student vaccination status within the Thrive platform, which was used for the rapid testing program.  Please ensure you have completed your vaccination declaration on Thrive and have uploaded a picture of your BC Vaccine Card (the QR code, not the wallet card).

Vaccine Mandate Order for Health Care Workers in BC (Updated on October 21, 2021)

The Hospital and Community (Health Care and Other Services) COVID-19 Vaccination Status Information and Preventive Measures PHO Order was published on October 14, 2021.  While UBC is clarifying some elements of the Order with the Ministry of Health, it is clear that, starting October 26 2021, students “must provide an operator [of a care location] with proof of vaccination, or an exemption, on request from an operator”.  Proof of vaccination is defined as a vaccine card, while care location includes hospital, Provincial mental health, and residential facilities, along with public health clinics, urgent and primary care centres, and community health centres.  Please see the order for full definitions and locations.  Guidelines for requesting an exemption are listed here.

Starting October 26,2021, please be prepared to show proof of vaccination or an exemption when attending a care location as defined in the Order.  If you are not fully vaccinated, this will have a significant impact on your studies and your career going forward. 

Information on how to get vaccinated is here:

 Helpful Resources

If you have questions or you are feeling hesitant about the vaccine, we encourage you to:

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Student Affairs ( with any questions or concerns.

Process for Obtaining N-95 Mask Alternatives (Updated on October 6, 2021)

The MD Undergraduate Program (MDUP) is working to update the current respiratory protection process for students who are unable to wear typical N-95 masks for various reasons (i.e., beards, turbans)

The current process for MDUP students who are unable to wear typical N-95 masks

  1. Contact Health & Safety Advisor to advise of inability to wear typical N-95 masks (prior to clerkship – as instructed in respirator safety lecture in TICE)
  2. Remove themselves from any clinical activity that would require the use of a respirator
  3. Remember that their exemption from such training will not affect their academic evaluations
  4. Contact Health & Safety Advisor for assistance if they wish to personally purchase alternative respiratory protective devices such as powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs), that are effective with full beards

The MDUP is looking to procure PAPR devices for appropriate students to use during their clerkship years.  Shortly, a survey will be distributed to determine the number of PAPRs needed.  If you are not able to wear typical N-95 masks, please indicate so on the survey.

COVID-19 Vaccine - Second Dose Registration Open (Updated on May 12, 2021)

  • All students need to register online at for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The system knows when you received your first dose and will calculate when you are due for your second dose. The system will invite you to book your second dose appointment a few weeks in advance of when you become eligible.
  • Currently, the interval between first and second doses is 16 weeks – this is so the province can maximize the number of people in the community with at least one dose, thereby reducing circulation of the virus and the overall risk for everyone.
  • If you are due for your second dose within the next two weeks and you have not yet been contacted with instructions on how to book your second dose appointment, please call the provincial immunization centre (1-833-838-2323) and let them know you are a health-care worker who is due for your second dose.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions (Updated on April 29, 2021)

Students returning home during a break in study are exempt from current provincial travel restrictions.

Student travel for placements is exempt, “returning to a person’s own principal residence” is listed as an essential purpose, and “principal residence” is where students primarily reside when not participating in post-secondary-institutional activities.

For more information, visit the government website:

Health and Safety (Updated on April 14, 2021)

As the province has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the UGME COVID-19 Task Force Community would like to acknowledge potential concerns from MDUP students.  New variants of concern (VoC) have proven to be more transmissible, and a younger provincial demographic has been shown to be susceptible to more serious illness.

At this time, there has been no further provincial or federal guidance related to variants of concern (VoC).  The safety measures that are in place, both in academic and clinical settings, are still effective at preventing transmission of both the wild-type virus and all VoC.  We know that robust safety programs, including physical distancing – especially in eating/drinking areas where PPE has been doffed, hand hygiene, daily self-assessments, and appropriate PPE, of which supply is steady, have worked to continually prevent transmission.  Should guidance change, the MDUP will broadly communicate any procedural updates.

Students, regardless of immunization status, are still not to assess or care for patients who have been confirmed communicable for COVID-19.  If necessary and in accordance with their local facility policy, students may enter a COVID ward or area to attend a patient that has not been confirmed as communicable for COVID-19.  We will continue to update you as the pandemic situation evolves.

Students always have the right to refuse work they believe is unsafe.  Please take any safety concerns to your preceptor, local faculty or program member, or Nick Steel, your Health & Safety Advisor.

COVID-19 Vaccinations FAQ (Updated on March 18, 2021)

Q 1: Re: COVID-19 Vaccine - will it become "required" for student placements or otherwise be collected as prerequisite for certain placements in Summer or Fall?

A: At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine is an opportunity, not a requirement. If guidance changes, this will be communicated. The PPE requirements and all other pre-vaccine COVID-19 pandemic guidance remains in place.

Q 2: Are the Health Authorities (HA) requiring Programs to collect/maintain record of students COVID-19 vaccination?

A: There is no requirement at this time for the program to collect COVID-19 vaccine status of students.

Although our program is not required to collect vaccination status, it is almost certain that vaccination status will need to be reported by the student to the AFMC/Health Authorities for out of province electives and/or clerkship. For instance, out-of-province electives may not be offered to students who do not report that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Q 3: Will the group size limits/room occupancies be adjusted back to pre-COVID levels in Fall, 2021?

A: Not at this time, as all of the pre-vaccine COVID-19 pandemic guidance remains in place, including physical distancing, mask use in health facilities, etc. In Dr. Henry’s recent letter to post-secondary institutions, she expressed confidence that physical distancing restrictions will not be necessary for instructional sessions in the fall, which could allow campus room occupancies to be adjusted to pre-COVID levels.

We will continue to follow the guidance and will update capacity accordingly if there are any changes in the months ahead.   See the UBC COVID-19 Campus Rules here.

Non-vaccinated Healthcare Workers:

Provincial guidance on what precautions non-vaccinated healthcare workers will be required to take is expected and can inform our procedures moving forward.


If there is an outbreak, the Practice Education Guidelines are clear:

In the event of a vaccine preventable communicable disease outbreak in the HCO [health care organization]:

  • Any unvaccinated student or faculty will be required to leave the practice education setting and not return until determined safe by the HCO Occupational Health and Safety / Infection Control staff.
  • Any student or faculty who is unable to provide proof of immunity status when requested will be required to leave the practice education setting until required records are available and immunity status is determined.
  • Collaboratively, the HCO and Faculty will endeavor to seek alternate, appropriate practice placement experiences in unaffected work areas within the organization, to avoid interruption/suspension of the practice experience. These alternate placements cannot be guaranteed.

COVID-19 Vaccinations - Second Dose (Updated on March 8, 2021)

BC is now in Phase 2 of its Immunization Plan, which includes all students in the MDUP.  As distribution of the vaccine differs at each Health Authority, look for local communications with instructions to book 1st dose appointments.  Because the interval between doses of the vaccine has now been extended to 4 months, 2nd dose appointments for students who have already received their 1st dose are no longer available.  Public Health is expected to provide guidance to those waiting for their 2nd dose as the 4-month interval approaches.  Public Health’s statement on the deferral of the 2nd dose can be found here.

For students interested in evidence supporting delayed second dosing of COVID-19 vaccines, the following is an excellent overview from Dr. Danuta Skowronski at the BCCDC, presented on January 2021: key evidence is presented between minutes 36:00 to 43:00.

Eye Protection (Updated on March 8, 2021)

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), in its latest guidance, recommends for droplet and contact precautions a full face shield that covers the front and sides of the face or well-fitting goggles.  If safety glasses are used, ensure that there are no gaps between the glasses and the face so that you are protected from all splashes and droplet spray.

COVID-19 Vaccinations - Student FAQs (Updated on March 2, 2021)

Q 1: There have also been questions around social media and confidentiality of receiving the vaccine as a UBC Medical Student. Does UBC have a position on this?

A:  There is no policy nor restriction on students’ personal media accounts.  Students are advised to be aware of how their posts may come across to members of the public who may be waiting to receive the vaccine.

Q 2: When will IMP, SMP, NMP students be offered vaccinations?

A:  Distribution of the vaccine differs at each Health Authority.  We are awaiting word from VIHA, IH, and NH to inform us when our students will be eligible in their regions.

The logistics of vaccine distribution are unique in each health authority, as are the amount of people in each priority population within a health authority.  As such, those invited to be vaccinated in Phase 2 will receive their invitation when it is most appropriate, given vaccine scarcity in their area.  It may not be perfectly synchronized, but be rest assured the province public health team is aware that learners in one health authority may receive vaccine invitations ahead of others. 

If you are not at your home site when you receive your offer for vaccination, please let your site Student Affairs office know.

Q 3: How does the delay in Pfizer vaccines impact the rollout process? Additionally, when do you expect the J&J and Novavax vaccines to be approved by Health Canada?

A:  The former delay in the Pfizer vaccine required brief refocus of Public Health on offering second doses for our most vulnerable populations in the province (i.e., long-term care residents).  This delay has now passed.  Moreover, extended time between the first and second doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is not expected to impact the efficacy of either vaccine series. Additionally, the AstraZeneca was approved 26 February. We don’t have any information on where the J&J and Novavax vaccines are in the approval process.

Q 4: Are we as medical students able to request to delay our vaccination?

A:  We recognize the personal health choice of each student regarding whether they wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Once students are eligible for the vaccine, they are always eligible, which means students can receive the vaccine during Phase 2, 3 or 4 – see the “Moving between phases” section on the BC Immunization Plan site.

Students are not mandated to receive the vaccination.  All current Health & Safety policies and procedures are still in effect regardless of immunization status.  Guidance will be provided for unvaccinated students, which could include the mandatory wearing of PPE at all times in the practice education setting, as well as specific procedures in the case of an outbreak.

As per the Practice Education Guidelines for BC for Immunization, UBC is required to maintain and store records of students’ immunization status for most communicable diseases, including influenza.  Clarity is being sought re: COVID-19 vaccine.

Q 5: How will medical students be notified when it is our turn to get the vaccine?

A:  Vaccination teams in each Health Authority will contact students when they are ready.  Again, students need to notify their site Student Affairs office if you are not at your home site when you receive the offer.  The program can help communicate Health Authority messages if necessary.

Q 6: Can we return to in-person classes in August once we are all vaccinated?

A:  UBC will continue to follow Provincial and local Health Authority guidance on in-person education sessions.  Any changes to the current practices will be broadly communicated.

Q 7: What will travel restrictions on medical students look like in the future?

A:  UBC will continue to follow Federal, Provincial and local Health Authority guidance on travel restrictions.  Any changes to the current practices will be broadly communicated.

Q 8: When booking vaccination appointments, what sites are available for students?

A:  Any clinic that is not designated as “Staff Only”.

Future communications will include information around receiving a second dose, and COVID-19 vaccine tracking update.

COVID-19 Vaccinations (Updated on February 2, 2021)

Public Health is tracking who has received vaccine, the type administered, and when people will be invited to receive their second dose. This information is held in a single provincial database, which allows all health authorities across B.C. to collect consistent data in a timely manner. This data helps inform the province’s COVID-19 planning and forecasting. Individuals can register for Health Gateway to access Proof of Immunization, in addition to paper copies issued at the clinics.

Health Authority vaccine implementation teams are meeting regularly with one another across the province. Further details on booking for a second dose (across health authorities) will be available soon. Additionally, we are continuing to follow the responsibilities in the current Practice Education Guideline on Immunization, whereby it is a student’s responsibility to provide proof of immunity status on request.

We continue to work with Public Health and provincial Health Authorities to facilitate vaccinations to all our students as efficiently as possible and will update you as information becomes available.

Return to Work Guidance Updated (Updated on February 2, 2021)

The Interim guidance on return to work for health care workers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 was updated last week.  Please use this guidance document when assessing when you can return to clinical experiences after being sick.

COVID-19 Vaccinations (Updated on January 21, 2021)

We understand the frustration that medical students are feeling with the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and regret that on occasion students have met with difficulties in attitude.  Medical students are still expected to be part of the second priority vaccination group (including other hospital staff, community Family Physicians and medical specialists), with an expected vaccine delivery from February to March as per Provincial guidance.

Although we are doing our best to prevent exposure of medical students to patients who are communicable with COVID-19 (see guideline), some students across the province are being offered vaccinations presently. These decisions are made locally by clinical department heads and Health Authorities, or as opportunities arise when excess vaccines are available. Students are (of course) able to accept these offers if presented.

For students who receive the vaccine, there is no change to PPE requirements or to the UBC guidelines on which patients students can see.  It is also still important to maintain physical distance and stay home when sick.  Finally, please remember that vaccinated people will become COVID antigen test positive but will stay nucleic acid test negative.  BCCDC COVID-19 vaccine resources can be found here.  If you have received the vaccine, coordination of the second dose will be done by Public Health and not by the MD Undergraduate Program.

Your Year 1 Rep will reach out to you to collect your FAQs about the vaccine and the roll out.

Year 1 Students’ Participation in Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures (AGMP) (Updated on January 12, 2021)

The UGME COVID-19 Task Force does not endorse Year 1 and 2 students participating in aerosol generating medical procedures (AGMPs).  Students in Years 1 and 2 have not been mask-fit tested to N95 respirators and would thus not be able to utilize appropriate precautions for patients who may have the COVID-19 virus.  Students will have opportunities in Years 3 and 4 to safely participate in AGMPs.

Some procedures that Year 1 and 2 students may encounter in their Family Practice Office visits include:

  • nasopharyngeal scoping
  • direct laryngoscopy

COVID-19 Holiday Note (Updated on December 17, 2020)

We are wishing you all a restful, relaxing and well-deserved holiday season. As you all know during this time of the COVID pandemic it is very important to follow the public health recommendations to keep your families safe. During your holiday time it is also very important to follow the public health recommendations so that when you return to your educational activities, you are able to keep your patients and colleagues safe. As healthcare providers and healthcare leaders we have the added responsibility to demonstrate the importance of following the guidelines and be examples to our families and communities through our behaviour. Please be healthy and safe on your holiday so that you are healthy and safe when you return to your educational activities.

Best regards,
Dr. Cheryl Holmes, Associate Dean Undergraduate Medical Education
Dr. Sarah Brears, Regional Associate Dean Southern Medical Program
Dr. Bruce Wright, Regional Associate Dean Island Medical Program
Dr. Paul Winwood, Regional Associate Dean Northern Medical Program
Dr. Amil Shah, Regional Associate Dean Vancouver Fraser Medical Program

Virtual Home Office Visit Guidelines (Updated on December 8, 2020)

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, safety plans must be in place for all workspaces including all UBC learning spaces. A clinical preceptor’s home office is unfortunately not considered a UBC learning space at this time. Therefore, students should not be working from a preceptor’s home office to complete virtual patient visits. Students who are having difficulty doing virtual visits remotely with their preceptor are asked to contact the appropriate program assistants for further support.

Update on Active Self-assessment Requirements (Updated on December 1, 2020)

In recent weeks, the BC Provincial Government has introduced a number of Public Health Orders related to reducing COVID-19 transmission.

Faculty, staff and students at UBC Vancouver received a UBC Broadcast on November 10, 2020 with information about the Public Health Orders — as they related to the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions. Faculty, staff and students at UBC Okanagan received a message on November 24, 2020, with further details — once the restrictions became province-wide.  UBC has now provided an additional update, which applies to all faculty, staff and students at UBC (regardless of campus location). For more information and FAQs, visit Safety & Risk Services.

Students taking part in face-to-face classes, or attending campus for other reasons, now need to directly confirm to their instructor/UBC representative that they have completed a self-assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at their class. This confirmation can be verbal and does not require documentation. Please use the BC self-assessment tool at Anyone experiencing symptoms must follow the guidance provided in the self-assessment tool.

Mask Use in Health Care Facilities (Updated on November 10, 2020)

The Ministry of Health issued this release on November 4 regarding mask use in Health Care Facilities.

Our students/staff in health care facilities must wear medical masks (provided by the facility) at all times when working in clinical areas, including common areas and break rooms (except when eating or drinking).

Staff in non-clinical areas can continue to follow their COVID-19 Safety Plans, which may allow them to be unmasked provided other safety measures (e.g. physical distancing) are implemented.

All persons in Long Term Care Facilities must wear a medical mask at all times unless eating or drinking.

Mask Use in Classrooms

We advise you to please wear masks in all small group sessions (CBL, tutorials, clinical skills, anatomy review sessions, etc.), as per UBC’s COVID-19 Campus Rules. This now applies to all sites of the MD Undergraduate Program.

Shadowing Out of Province: (Updated on October 6, 2021)

Please note that “observerships” (shadowing experiences) are currently under suspension at all AFMC Medical schools in Canada; see announcement from the AFMC on April 18, 2021. Therefore, liability insurance coverage under Policy 028 is not available to students through the MD Undergraduate Program for any out of province shadowing over the 2021 winter break.

Guidelines for MDUP Student Shadowing (Years 1 and 2) during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Updated on October 6, 2021)

Shadowing for students in Years 1 and 2 is an observational activity only, as per  Policy 028. Students must not actively engage in or perform any clinical activities; however, the following document provides guidance on participation in shadowing experiences that involve patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Students may observe the clinical care of community members with COVID-19.  However, this excludes observing any situation where a respirator (N95 mask) is required, including Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures (AGMPs) involving COVID-19 suspected or confirmed patients, as students will not yet have not undergone respirator fit testing.

We recommend and acknowledge that:

  • Individual health authorities, hospital sites and department guidelines still apply
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and appropriate clinical supervision must be available (Students have not received respirator fit testing and so no participation in any activity that requires an N95 mask)
  • The decision lies with the clinical Preceptor/Attending Physician and team
  • Students have the right to refuse unsafe work without fear of academic penalty
  • We recommend students NOT observe on COVID wards or wards under an outbreak
  • Students may be required to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status in accordance with Provincial Health Orders

Please see our Guidelines for MDUP Student Shadowing (Years 1 and 2) during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Shadowing Update (Updated on September 22, 2021)

We are pleased to announce that UGME Committee approved the resumption of Shadowing for Year 2 students starting September 22.  Student Affairs has heard from students how important shadowing opportunities are and has spent the summer recruiting more than 100 preceptors to expand shadowing across the province, which are now listed in Entrada.

Please be understanding that even if listed, the ability for preceptors to accept shadowing students may fluctuate due to demands of the pandemic.  Current lists for your respective site can be found on Entrada>Student Affairs>Career Planning> Shadowing.  Here is what you need to know:

First - Make sure that you have reviewed Policy 28 Extracurricular Activities - Registration and Approval

Second - Review your distributed site database to assist you finding shadowing opportunities. You may be able to observe the clinicians in action or, if not, at least have an informational interview about their practice (see Bread and Butter, below).

Third - Make sure you register your eligible shadowing activity here.

Before your activity takes place, prepare by watching The Bread and Butter of Medical Specialties from UBC MedIT. It covers some key questions to ask while shadowing or even just having coffee with a physician!

Finally - please do contact your Student Affairs Coordinator for any questions.

Policy 028 and Resumption of Shadowing Opportunities (Updated on September 2, 2021)

We are keen to provide resumption of Clinical Shadowing as soon as possible.  We recognize that this experience is invaluable and a priority.  We are waiting for clarity and guidance from the Provincial Health Officer.  You may be requested to provide your vaccination status with private physician clinics directly.

Please ensure that you have completed The Infection Prevention and Control for Students Starting Clinical Placements module (aka the PPE module) and corresponding quiz.   All students are required to complete the module and quiz prior to their clinical placements for the Academic Year 2021-22. You will also need to have completed your Year 2 “In-person Donning and Doffing” observation in Clinical Skills or Family Practice prior to any shadowing experience.

We will provide another update on the resumption of shadowing opportunities after September 16.

Fall plans 2021 (Updated on June 29, 2021)

As previously approved by the UGME COVID-19 Task Force on May 20th, 2021, the Years 1&2 curriculum will be delivered through a Blended Model during the Fall of 2021.

All efforts will be made to offer IN-PERSON instruction where and when possible, with some exceptions and allowing for some flexibility (particularly with regards to didactic lectures and large-group sessions).

Comparability among Sites will be ensured with regards to session objectives, but some variability in modes of delivery among (and within) Sites is expected, depending on local restrictions (particularly with regards to utilizing Health Authority teaching spaces) and recruitment efforts (of both Faculty and Volunteer/Standardized Patients) at each of the four Sites.

Planning assumptions and guidance for returning to campuses and in-person instruction will be informed by a continued commitment to protecting the health, safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. We will remain mindful of the importance of adaptability as conditions change.

Please see this document for specific courses and delivery.  Have a safe and happy summer everyone!

Plans for Years 1&2 Curriculum Delivery during the Fall Term - FAQs (Updated on June 1, 2021)

Thank you for your great questions!  Please refer to the answers to your questions found here.

Shadowing/ Non-Credit Clinical Activities: (Updated on May 5, 2021)

Shadowing in Years 1 & 2, and Non-Credit Clinical Activities in year 3 & 4 are currently on hold due to the severe situation many hospital and preceptors are facing around the province due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This situation has recently been reviewed and we will continue to review it as the circumstances around the Pandemic change.  We next plan to review the possibility re-establishing of Shadowing and Non-Credit Clinical Activities in August 2021.

Students should not engage in self-funded liability insurance for Shadowing or Non-Credit Clinical Activities during their summer vacation as this goes against current UBC policy.  For further clarification, please refer to Policy 028 or contact your Assistant Dean Student Affairs or Assistant Dean Curricular at your site.

Update to Policy 019: Examination Conduct (Updated March 23, 2021)

Policy 019 Exam Conduct has been updated with a COVID-19 related “red box” which states,

Expectation of Students Writing On-line Examinations

Until further notice, on-line written examinations will not be proctored.

In keeping with the professional standards and integrity expected of medical professionals, the Faculty of Medicine’s expectation is that students must not refer to any educational resources during summative written examinations and that students will take these examinations as they would a traditional in-person examination. Policy 019 and its procedures continue to apply, as appropriate, to a virtual setting.

The time allocation for each examination has been carefully considered and is unlikely to allow activities other than answering the examination questions.

Term 2 Schedules (Updated on December 14, 2020)

While the start of classes for many programs at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan will be delayed until January 11, the MD Undergraduate program will start as planned on January 4th, 2021 at all Sites. At this time, we would like to provide you with an update on the plans for Term 2. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial regulations as well as health authority and university (UBC, UVic, UNBC, and UBC-O) directives, the current plan is to deliver the various components of the Term 2 Courses found here.

Start of Term 2 after Winter Break (Updated on December 8, 2020)

While the start of classes for many programs at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan will be delayed until January 11, the MD Undergraduate program will start as planned on January 4, 2021.  The Term 2 detailed plans will be available next week.

Assessment FAQ (Updated on December 8, 2020)

Answers to your Assessment FAQ re: MCQ’s can be found here.

Clinical Skills (Updated on November 24, 2020)

The UGME COVID-19 Task Force, along with UBC Health and Safety, acknowledge the current COVID-19 situation across the province and the Provincial Health Order on province-wide restrictions that went into effect on November 19, 2020.

We have carefully considered and weighed the pros and cons to continuing the in-person session for MEDD 411 Clinical Skills Week 15 on December 1 & 3, 2020 and have decided to proceed.  This is in alignment with the need for optimal delivery of the curriculum with current health and safety guidelines and extensive safety plans that ensure the sessions proceed in a cautious way and by protecting all parties with appropriate personal protective equipment.

With this being said, we want to emphasize that if any students, tutors, or volunteers are not feeling safe, they should not attend.  We do ask that tutors and volunteers let the site administrators know as soon as possible if they will not be attending.  Students who are not planning to attend for any reason need to submit an absence form.

Students can rest assured that all learning objectives for MEDD 411 Clinical Skills have been sufficiently completed in the Weeks 13 and 14 sessions and there will be opportunities for in-person practice of these skills later in the curriculum.  All individuals must complete the self-assessment tool prior to attending (here) and are not to attend in-person sessions if unwell.  We thank you for your thoughtfulness in protecting our staff, patients, tutors and students.

The Virtual Cup of Coffee Program (Updated on October 29, 2020)

Student Affairs is excited to announce a new career exploration initiative for our 1st- and 2nd-year students. The Virtual Cup of Coffee welcomes students from across the province to meet with physicians in diverse specialties in a small group setting to learn about their experiences in their field. Each month, you will be invited to register for a 45-minute virtual chat with the goal of providing greater exposure to specialties that you may be interested in.

We will slowly roll out the program during November and December and we expect high demand for these sessions. For this reason, we are limiting availability to 1 session per student, although you will have the option for registering for an unlimited number of wait-listed sessions. After your session, you’ll receive a brief survey to help us improve on the program going forward.

Please note the following:

  1. These sessions are an opportunity to learn more about a physician's specialty. They are not to be used to seek mentorship opportunities or clinical activities.
  2. This is not a lecture. Please come prepared with questions for your host.
  3. Ensure your webcam is turned on and be an active participant of the session.
  4. Demonstrate professional behaviour by dressing appropriately and joining from a clean, quiet environment.
  5. if you are unable to attend a session you’ve registered for.

The registration page will be available via Entrada starting Sunday, November 1st at 11am. You can find it via this link, or via the Student Affairs page, with the Virtual Cup of Coffee link located under Career Planning. Please note that the registration page will not be accessible before 11am on Sunday. You can find a list of sessions at the bottom of this email, which I encourage you to review and prioritize as they may fill up quickly and you may not be able to register for your first choice. We will accept registrations for December sessions in late November.

If you have any questions, please contact me or Awss Dabe, VFMP Coordinator.

Clinical Shadowing (Updated on October 29, 2020)

The MD Undergraduate Program is aware of your desire to shadow.  As shadowing is a Career Planning activity, it is housed in Student Affairs.  Student Affairs has engaged in a consultative process with Curricular Leads in Years 1 & 2, and 3 & 4, UBC Faculty of Medicine, Health and Safety and the UGME COVID-19 Taskforce to evaluate shadowing in second semester.  The pros and cons have been weighed and at this time it has been decided that shadowing will remain on HOLD due to a variety of limitations and concerns, including PPE use and Preceptor availability.  Here are the principles for reinstatement of clinical shadowing.

As an alternative to shadowing, Student Affairs has been working hard to develop a new program called the Virtual Cup of Coffee which will begin in November 2020 and be available to Years 1 & 2.  We understand this is a priority to student and will work hard to have shadowing back as soon as it is possible.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Clinical Skills (Updated September 15, 2020)

Although several clinical skills sessions that focus on developing physical examination skills will be offered in-person in the 2020-2021 academic year, there remains the potential for individual students to miss these sessions due to mandated self-isolation, quarantine, as well as illness, resulting from potential COVID-19 exposures by the students themselves or their close contacts. Our goal is to preserve promotion and timely entry into clinical years where possible, without compromising students’ education.

If you have any COVID-19-like symptoms or are in self-isolation for any reason, please do NOT attend your in-person Clinical Skills sessions.  The alternatives are to reschedule or to ask if there are virtual opportunities you can participate in.  The mitigation strategies are found here.  The procedure for unforeseen absence due to COVID-19 exposure, COVID-19 infection or COVID-19-like symptoms is found here.

FLEX Activity COVID-19 guidelines (Updated September 10, 2020)

The link to the guidelines for MEDD 429 can be found on Entrada > MEDD 419/429 > FLEX Guidelines and COVID info.

Attendance and Absences during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Updated on October 12, 2021)

We recognize that these unprecedented times have resulted in new and unexpected challenges for students. The Faculty is prepared to support students in overcoming such challenges to the extent that we are logistically able. As adult learners and medical professionals, our expectation is that students will collaborate with the program to ensure that their needs are met while also meeting standards of professionalism. This involves following  attendance procedures and communicating with appropriate faculty and staff when extenutating circumstances arise.  This also involves not coming in sick or if the BC COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool (Thrive) indicates you should be isolating.

With the return to in-person learning for CBL, Clinical Skills and other small group sessions for the 2021-22 academic year, the Program expects that students will attend these sessions in-person when they are offered in this format. While recruitment challenges have required the program to keep some small group sessions in a virtual format, the program is not able to offer the option for both in-person and virtual attendance within the same small group session due to administrative and logistical limitations related to  the set-up of most rooms where small-group sessions take place.

  • IF a student is not able to attend in-person due to personal or extra-curricular events, an absence form is required (i.e., negotiated absence, including personal days) and we ask that students not make individual arrangements with fellow students, preceptors, tutors or administrative staff to attend virtually.
  • IF a student cannot attend an in-person session due to a requirement to self-isolate due to COVID infection, COVID exposure or presentation of COVID-like symptoms AND is well enough to continue with their studies, mitigation strategies may include permission for students to attend small group sessions virtually. These arrangements would be made in collaboration with your Site Director, see Supplement to Policy 006 Procedure for Unforeseen Absence due to  COVID. This document reinforces that there is no expectation for students to attend in-person or virtually if they are unwell.
  • IF a student cannot attend an in-person session due to a requirement to self-isolate due to COVID infection, COVID exposure or presentation of COVID-like symptoms, AND is well enough to continue with their studies but is unable to connect with the respective Site Director to establish an immediate plan, they may reach out to a fellow student and/or their tutor or preceptor  to connect to a specific session virtually, using their personal Zoom account. However, this will need to be communicated to the respective Site Director as soon as possible.
  • For Clinical Skills - you must contact your Clinical Skills Admin Team first and not fellow students to discuss connecting virtually, as Volunteer Patients are involved and we need to ensure their consent and comfort with a student connecting virtually.
  • Site Director and Admin contact info can be found here: Entrada >> Program Information >> Year 1 / Year 2

Expectations for Site Attendance (Updated on July 9, 2020)


This year, due to provincial restrictions imposed by the pandemic, curriculum delivery will be very different in all 4 years of the program compared to previous years. Students who accepted a position in May, might have different thoughts about what they want in August.

Students in the Class of 2024 will be expected to attend in-person sessions at their home sites. The decision to have students attend at their home sites is based on the following:

  • The UBC Medical Undergraduate Program (MDUP) is located in British Columbia, and has a social accountability mandate to address the current and future health care needs of British Columbians;
  • Students in the C2024 will be starting Year 1 of medical school in August 2020;
  • Matriculating students are offered a position at one of the 4 sites (that they ranked) and it is very clear when the offer is made that they are committing to attend UBC MDUP at that site. As such, students in the C2024 belong to one of the 4 distributed sites within the MDUP;
  • In the 2020/21 academic year, much of the curriculum will be delivered virtually but there are key sessions that are being planned in-person which students must attend in person at their respective sites;
  • There is no capacity to have additional students at any of the 4 sites for in-person sessions.

Decision Making:

The UBC MDUP is governed by the Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) Committee.  During the COVID pandemic, the UGME COVID-19 Task Force has been empowered to make nimble decisions for the MDUP.  This Task Force includes student representatives from each of the classes as well as program faculty leaders, administrative teams and all of the site Student Affairs Assistant Deans. The current Class President for the C2023, Armaghan (Army) Alam, will serve as de facto representative of both the C2023 and C2024 until the C2024 has elected student representatives. In addition to Student Affairs, you may contact him if you have any questions or concerns (

Approaches to Curriculum Planning/Delivery:

  • The Faculty of Medicine leadership, faculty, staff, and students are committed to delivering a solid educational experience where all students will meet MDUP exit competencies and are well prepared to enter residencies and future careers;
  • In consultation with faculty and student reps, we are trying to maintain as many in-person activities as possible, with the knowledge that in-person curricular and extracurricular activities are the very best for many kinds of learning, for feeling a part of a class and a site, and for integrating into a new community;
  • Each site is working hard to establish creative ways of building and maintaining a sense of community from the outset, taking into account the current limits on in-person interactions and specific university and hospital rules.

Options for students who feel that they cannot attend the 2020/21 Academic year at their Site:

  • Contact their Student Affairs team who can help navigate and support students in accessing program information, thinking through options, sharing experiences, advising and advocacy
  • Refuse the site offer and re-enter an application for next year (or beyond);
  • Request to defer admission for a year to the same site. Please note, requests for deferral are not automatically granted and are only approved in extraordinary circumstances where the students’ situation has significantly changed since acceptance of their offer to medical school (i.e. personal or family medical issue or emergency).
  • Request a site transfer. Please refer to the UBC Faculty of Medicine policy to determine eligibility (Transfer Between Program Sites, Policy 001). These decisions are based on significant changes in a student’s situation from acceptance of their site to the time of the request and are dependent on maintaining the integrity of learning for the whole group (i.e. capacity and depleting the numbers of learners at a site). Site transfers are only approved for extraordinary circumstances (i.e. personal or family medical issue or emergency). Requests for site switches between students are not possible;
  • Request a personal leave of absence. Please note, requests for personal leaves are not automatically granted and are approved by the Regional Associate Dean in accordance with MDUP Policy 002.  Please discuss this with your Student Affairs Assistant Dean.
  • While the program assumes students will reside in the communities close to their academic site, once students have knowledge of their individual curricular schedules, they may choose to stay at their homes, where they are comfortable, for on-line learning components and travel to the site for in-person activities.

Please note, this approach will require knowledge of individual curricular schedules which will not be ready until at least mid-August and could be subject to change with possibly 24 -hours’ notice. The program cannot tailor schedules to accommodate this type of living arrangement. Additionally, it may be more stressful for students to move to their site after their studies have started.

We understand there are downsides to all of these choices, and the “unfairness” of uncertainty imposed by the pandemic impacts us all.  That said, the policies are based on the underlying principles of UBC’s Distributed Medical Education Program (MDUP) that have not changed because of COVID.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility during these difficult times. We recognize that this year may not be what you were expecting; however, many hours of hard work and deliberation have gone into ensuring a high-quality medical education.

Family Practice (Updated September 15, 2020)

While we recognize the significant challenges the COVID-19 pandemic poses to our students, we anticipate that this year, students will have a lot more flexibility and opportunities to complete your family practice sessions in their entirety.

If you have any COVID-19-like symptoms or are in self-isolation for any reason, please do NOT attend your in-person Family Practice Seminars or Office visits.  The alternatives are to reschedule or to ask if there are virtual opportunities you can participate in.  The mitigation strategies are found here.  The procedure for unforeseen absence due to COVID-19 exposure, COVID-19 infection or COVID-19-like symptoms is found here.

If you experience any challenges with scheduling sessions with preceptors, please contact the site program assistants for further assistance and direction.

Family Practice Office Visits (Updated on June 4, 2020)

The Family Practice team is planning an exciting fall term for you.  You will be paired with a Family Doctor and will have more flexibility in scheduling the family practice office visits based on mutual convenience with a preceptor.  However, you can still use your dedicated family practice time on your schedule if that works. The number of visits required will be indicated to you by your site program assistants.  Visit types will also be flexible (depending on preceptor practices and availability) and suggestions will be provided in the preceptor and student manuals.  Some of these include:

  • In-office visits
  • Telehealth/virtual visits
  • Deeper history taking with select patients (e.g. vulnerable populations, etc.)

Please note that you are still responsible to attend all of the scheduled in-person and synchronous learning activities.

More details will be provided in the student manual.

Principles of COVID-19 MEDD 411/419 Implementation Working Group for Intake of UBC Medical Class of 2024 (C2024) (Updated on May 11, 2020)

The Class of 2024 will be welcomed by their sites of acceptance in August.  All orientation activities will occur at the sites.  Dr. Karen Pinder and Peter Choi are chairing the MEDD 411/419 Implementation Working group, supported by Pilar Onatra, with a 75-member team, students, faculty and administrators from all 4 sites.

Key Principles guiding the work of this Implementation Working Group are:

  1. The safety of our students, patients, faculty and staff are the highest priority.
  2. We are bounded by the Principles articulated by the UGME COVID-19 Task Force.
  3. We are bounded by the guidelines of the University of British Columbia and partner institutions (UVic, UNBC, and UBC-O) for on-boarding C2024.
  4. Our priority is that C2024 starts MEDD 411 and 419 on time and that students attain an equitable and sufficient education that prepares them for MEDD 412, 421, 422 and 429.
  5. We will inform C2024 that they will start MEDD 411 and 419 at their respective sites. This information will be included in their admission letters (scheduled to be sent 12 May 2020).
  6. We recognize that face-to-face interactions (particularly for small group sessions) are desirable for building community, but the over-arching principles in making decisions of curricular delivery online, in-person or a hybrid will be grounded in principles 1-5, with the safety of all students, patients, faculty and staff at the forefront. As such, as much of the curriculum as possible should be delivered on-line.
  7. Students in C2024 are expected to reside at their site of offer for the duration of MEDD 411.
  8. Administrative and faculty teams at all sites are to be included in all COVID-19 MEDD 411 planning and implementation decisions.
  9. Other health professional programs (Dentistry, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy) will be consulted and engaged in changes to the orientation program of MEDD 411 (weeks 1 and 2).
  10. Processes for faculty recruitment, faculty development and curriculum delivery will follow the well-established processes of distributed delivery already utilized for MEDD 412, MEDD 421 and MEDD 422.
  11. This working group will report through the Years 1&2 Curriculum Subcommittee for oversight, operations and comparability for other courses in Years 1&2.
  12. Modalities for all sessions will be consistent and identical across sites to ensure equity across sites and to avoid curriculum drift, (e.g. CBL at all sites will either be online or in person and not different across sites).
  13. Once a delivery method (online, in-person, or hybrid) for MEDD 411 is decided, we commit to it in order to ensure consistency for faculty, staff and students.
  14. The “essential to deliver” face-to-face components of MEDD 411 will be decided at the outset and will be subject to change based on changing provincial and university mandates.
  15. Restrictions on the size of public gatherings will significantly limit traditional community-building social activities for C2024. Other means of achieving this will be explored.
  16. Flexibility in scheduling will be considered on an individualized basis for students who need additional time to complete competencies (e.g. due to academic difficulties, illness, self-isolation). We will focus on competencies before curricular time.
  17. Assessment modalities and their delivery will need to be revised for this cohort (remote proctoring of MCQ and lab exams, postponement of the OSCE, etc).
  18. While faculty and leadership may identify opportunities for enhanced and/or innovative curriculum delivery, we will make decisions that balance the opportunity for innovation across all curricular components of Year 1, dependent on feasibility and availability of resources and time constraints at all sites.
  19. The Working Group is making decisions in extraordinary times. Time is limited and we need to make rapid decisions and the administrative teams need lead time for implementation. Although there is a need to implement decisions in a timely way, all proposals need to be presented to UGME COVID-19 Implementation Task Force for coordination with other working groups, the Years 1&2 Curriculum Subcommittee for endorsement and coordination within the components of the curriculum and the UGME Committee for final approval in line with our governance structure.
  20. Working Group discussions will remain confidential until key messages are released.
  21. The implementation of MEDD 411 for C2024 must be seen in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be a compromise. Data from this pilot will be helpful but not binding in planning future iterations of MEDD 411.

(Updated on May 1, 2020)

We are considering the inevitability that restrictions on the size of public gatherings and physical distancing will remain in place for the fall of 2020, which will significantly impact the current delivery of orientation and MEDD 411. It is likely that provincial and UBC guidelines will limit gatherings to 25 people and require learners to be in a room with 3-fold the normal capacity. Considering that students from the distributed sites identify significant challenges finding housing in Vancouver for 4 months followed by relocating to their sites, it seems unduly stressful for all students to start in Vancouver given the uncertainty of travel restrictions continuing and that it may not be meaningful if the majority of program delivery will be virtual.

As a result, the decision has been made that the Class of 2024 students will be welcomed to the UBC MDUP at their distributed sites rather than all at the Vancouver Fraser Site for MEDD 411.

Drs. Karen Pinder and Peter Choi are forming a MEDD 411 Implementation working group, supported by Pilar Onatra. Students, faculty and staff from the sites will be on this working group, including Student Affairs, Clinical Skills, FLEX, MEDIT, Program Managers, Faculty Development, Admissions, and the Standardized and Volunteer Patient Program representatives.

Importantly, a Key Principles document will be developed with the following considerations:

    1. Our faculty and leadership identify many opportunities for enhanced curriculum delivery including virtual labs.
    2. Face to face interactions, particularly for small group sessions are desirable for building community, at least to start.
    3. Restrictions on the size of public gatherings will significantly limit traditional community-building social activities for the whole year group. Other means of achieving this will need to be explored.
    4. There will need to be a significant redesign for a predominantly on-line curriculum.
    5. Time is limited. We need to make rapid decisions and our administrative teams need lead time for implementation.
    6. MDUP Admissions will send out offer letters around May 12; the change in where the first semester is delivered for students at the sites should be included in the offer letter so that students can make plans for housing etc.
    7. Student Leadership will be helpful in designing and communicating messaging for the incoming Class of 2024.
    8. Other health professions programs are also involved in the 2-week orientation (Dentistry, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy). They will need to be engaged in changes to the orientation program.
    9. Whatever we do this year must be seen in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be a compromise.  Data from this pilot will be helpful in planning future delivery of MEDD 411.

Social Gatherings (Updated on October 28, 2021)

With the holiday season fast approaching, starting with Halloween, we want to remind everyone that the size of social gatherings remains restricted in some Health Authority regions.

As members of the UBC Faculty of Medicine, it’s important that we continue to follow the public health requirements set out by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer.

For more information on restrictions and requirements for your region, please visit this website.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to ensuring the safety of our collective community and the communities we serve.

COVID Task Force Chairs, Paul Winwood and Cheryl Holmes

In-person Social Events (Updated on May 26, 2020)

Year 2 Orientation Committee students are planning small-group, open-air activities with the incoming class to build community, in conjunction with online activities. Provincial and CDC directives will be followed. More information to follow.

Townhall FAQ (Updated on August 6, 2020)

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and contribute to an important townhall discussion.

Detailed answers to the FAQ from the Townhall meeting can be found here.

We recognize that your class faces a unique challenge entering medical school that no other class before you have had to deal with. The uncertainty and difficulties associated with this pandemic may seem daunting, however we are confident that your class will rise to the occasion and become great physicians despite this adversity.

The entire Faculty of Medicine are working tirelessly to ensure that there is no disruption to the delivery of your medical education, and we will strive to provide you with updates on new in-person sessions as soon as we can reasonably do so. As previously stated, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your temporary class representative, Army Alam (