March 15, 2017 • Written in Resident Physicians 0 Comments

Tagged with Accommodations Rural Alberta North Whitehorse Yukon Territory • Written by Donna Bonsteel

I visited our condos in Whitehorse for the first time this month. As a Program Support Coordinator for RPAP, my role is to manage accommodations for the rural rotations for resident physicians from the Rural Alberta North (RAN) program, a rural family medicine residency training program offered by the University of Alberta.

You may be thinking: “Whitehorse isn’t even in Alberta”. This is true. Whitehorse, the capital city of the Yukon Territory, and settlement of 23,000 hardy souls, is actually closer to the Arctic Circle and Alaska than the province of Alberta. However, through our support of the RAN and Rural Alberta South (RAS - University of Calgary) rural residency programs, and our ongoing management of resident physician accommodations for both RAN and RAS, we have been leasing a condominium there for the past 10 years, which is used by future rural physicians who are undertaking their residency training in the Great White North.

2017 RPAP visit to Whitehorse, YT

About five years ago we started leasing another condo there – in the same building – neither of which anyone from RPAP had ever seen. So in early March I headed north, and endeavored to meet the local people we have been relying on to ensure all of our leased condos, current and temporary, are ready to welcome weary residents.  Among the people RPAP leans on are EMT Rob Dawe, Dr. Huy Chau, Dr. Ken Quong, and Donna Sherman, all local healthcare workers who pitch in to look after our keys, do the cleaning, and greet and teach the residents on rotation in that location. All of you do such an amazing job, and we can’t thank you enough for all you do for Alberta and Canada.

It is a testament to the RPAP, and the community of Whitehorse, that there are several RAN and RAS program graduates who are now practising in the “Wilderness City”.   I was pleased to learn that Dr. Larry Brehmer, Dr. Travis Flath, Dr. Shaira Somani, and Dr. Alex Kmet, all currently practise at the very modern Klondyke Medical Clinic.

While in Whitehorse, I noted the abundance of local attractions and amenities, including the Whitehorse International Snow Sculpture Challenge, Main Street Whitehorse (complete with Starbucks!), the Visitor Information Centre, Yukon Sports Hall of Fame, the Canada Games Centre, and the historic sternwheeler, S.S. Klondike, moored along the river Yukon. You can go skiing (cross country and downhill), or enjoy the view, there’s much to see and do! You can even rent a fat bike, although I declined to do so on this occasion. Maybe next time.

It was a fantastic trip to Whitehorse - even leaving the city was beautiful! I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet all the people who are involved with the accommodations we provide to the medical residents and students who do their Rural Family Medicine rotations in Whitehorse.  As well, having a perspective of the local community, and knowing the location of the areas and the accommodations we provide, makes a big difference for us in helping the medical community thrive.


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