OTTAWA, Feb. 7 /CNW/ - The Canadian Federation of Medical Students
(CFMS) is bringing future physicians from across the country to
Parliament Hill today for its Federal Lobby Day event. Medical students
from St John's to Vancouver will meet with Members of Parliament,
Senators, and bureaucrats to discuss the underrepresentation of low
income and rural background individuals in Canada medical schools.
The CFMS believes that the lack of adequate socioeconomic and geographic
diversity in medical schools threatens to exacerbate family doctor
shortages and physician scarcity in underserviced communities.
According to a 2007 survey, only 12.7% of Canadian medical students
come from homes with annual incomes of less than $40,000, compared to
36.7% of the general Canadian population. Incomes of over $100,000 were
reported by 46.7% of medical students, in contrast to only 19.4% of
Canadians. Furthermore, only 10.8% of medical students hail from rural
areas, compared to 22.4% of Canadians.
"These disproportionate numbers are having a huge impact on future
access to health care," says Matthew Sheppard, CFMS president.
"Students from low income backgrounds are more likely to treat
disadvantaged patients while rural students are 2.5 times more likely
to practice in a rural community. Both groups are more likely to
practice family medicine in underserviced areas, where we are currently
"While the CFMS understands that this lack of representation in medicine
is multi-faceted and requires comprehensive action from many
stakeholders, we believe that the federal government must play an
important role in working towards short and long term solutions,"
argues Ashley Miller, CFMS Vice President Advocacy.
The CFMS is advocating for the establishment of government grants to
cover the significant costs of application to medical school for
students from low-income backgrounds. The CFMS is also calling on the
federal government to establish funding for mentorship and outreach
programs that target students from low-income and rural origins. Such
pipelines programs have proven to be extremely effective, as the
preparation necessary to reach medical school often begins as early as
"Today's unbalanced medical school demographic is the product of social
and financial barriers that disproportionately affect low-income and
rural students," stresses Miller. "Investment in the proposed solutions
will offer long-term pay offs in the form of improved physician
distribution and better care for all Canadians."
"Ultimately," adds Sheppard, "It is the responsibility of decision
makers to work towards more equitable access to medical education."
The Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) is a national
organization that represents over 7500 medical students at 14 medical
schools across Canada.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Medical Students
For further information:
Robin Clouston, Vice President Communications
Canadian Federation of Medical Students
Cell: (709) 631-1951 • firstname.lastname@example.org