Each summer, young doctors practicing in Alberta’s north gather in Hinton to learn, network, and maybe even relax a little.

In 2014, the Rural Family Medicine Workshop was held at the Hinton Training Centre in Hinton, Alberta. The event is part of Rural Alberta North (RAN), the rural family medicine residency program operated by the Alberta Rural Family Medicine Network (ARFMN), a unique collaborative venture of the RPAP, the family medicine departments of the universities of Alberta and Calgary, Alberta’s rural physicians and Alberta Health Services.

“RAN is a big family, and you get to know your family members when you come here together,” says Dr. Dawn Poisson, a 2014 RAN resident.

This year, the residents were offered a wide variety of courses ranging from breaking cross-cultural barriers to improved casting techniques.

“[The Rural Family Medicine Workshop is an] opportunity for us to put aside our clinical and work-based stuff and just sit down and let people with good knowledge talk to us,” explains Dr. Cole Leavit. “We’ve had a huge range of topics … it’s been a really good learning experience.”

RAN, alongside its southern counterpart, Rural Alberta South (RAS), provide resident physicians with an opportunity to train in the environment where they will eventually practice. Resident physicians are taught largely by practicing rural faculty, supported by full-time academic faculty, and use the academic resources of their parent family medicine departments and faculties of medicine. This training leads to eligibility for certification in family medicine with the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

“We are very family inclusive. When we come here … everyone comes: your spouse, your children,” concludes Dr. Poisson. “You do really become part of a larger family.”


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