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SFU envisioning a new medical school with a purpose-built take on medical studies

New school will offer a community-based approach to graduating family and primary care physicians
SFU recent graduate, Sherry Sandhu.

Simon Fraser University sets its sights on opening a brand new SFU Medical School that will make a difference for B.C. residents and provide more opportunities for medical students seeking high-quality education.

SFU has campuses in B.C.’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby– where they provide students with a comprehensive education in more than 350 undergraduate degree programs and over 140 graduate degree programs. The new medical school will be joining the SFU Surrey campus, taking inspiration from Surrey’s diverse, underserved and Indigenous communities and working in particularly close partnerships with Fraser Health and the First Nations Heath Authority.

Sherry Sandhu, a recent Masters of Public Health graduate, says her educational experience at SFU encouraged her to view things from every possible angle and their new medical school, which is anticipated to welcome its first cohort by 2026, will offer students a modern, holistic medical education that prioritizes social accountability, culturally safe medical practices and a patient-centred approach. Indigenous knowledge systems will be embedded in learning and research and community partnerships will be central to the school’s academic programs and research priorities.

“Simon Fraser University is a living example of how we should all be engaging in our work and our community,” says Sandhu. “All of the professors and educational staff at SFU inspire their students through leading by example. Students are encouraged to practice self-reflection, be open-minded and embody values of respect and equality for everyone.”

“SFU has strong Indigenous partnerships that will help create graduates that are well-versed and educated in culturally safe care for B.C. residents,” Sandhu says. “I’m very excited to see how B.C.’s medical landscape changes and grows with those new practices in place.”

The university’s new medical school can’t open soon enough, as B.C. residents continue to navigate a shortage of medical professionals. The new school will result in more community level specialists, including family doctors who are better prepared to support the Fraser Health region’s diversity as well as B.C.’s underserved, Indigenous, rural and remote communities. It will ensure the medical landscape continues to grow, adapt and rise up to meet the future challenges of the province’s healthcare system.

“While we have made enormous progress to strengthen public health care over the past five years, we know that many British Columbians are struggling to find a family doctor and waiting too long for care on a waiting list or in an emergency room,” said Premier David Eby in a media release last November. “That’s why we are taking action to train, recruit and retain family doctors now – and taking these steps with Simon Fraser University to train the health workforce we’ll need in the future. This investment in the first entirely new medical school in western Canada in 55 years will mean more family doctors graduating each year to provide care for people.”

Find more information about Simon Fraser University here and more information about their new medical school online here.

Simon Fraser as seen from above - Photo credit Larry Goldstein.
Simon Fraser as seen from above - Photo credit Larry Goldstein.