Alberta Medical Association's Section of Rural Medicine Provides One Year's Free Tuition for Medical Students Interested in Practising Rural Medicine

EDMONTON, ALBERTA–(Marketwire – Sept. 30, 2008) – Alberta Medical Association’s (AMA) Section of Rural Medicine will award the annual Tarrant Scholarship to two third-year Alberta medical students, at 11:45 a.m., Wednesday, October 1 at the Rutherford House (11153 Saskatchewan Drive) in Edmonton.

The scholarship provides a full year’s tuition to selected third-year medical students at the University of Alberta (U of A) and University of Calgary (U of C) who seek careers in rural medicine in Alberta. Award recipients must demonstrate their interest in rural medicine in their undergraduate work.

This year one student from each of the U of A and U of C will receive the scholarship. “We had lots of interest and several excellent candidates for this year’s awards. It’s encouraging to know there are future doctors interested in working in rural areas,” states Dr. Allan S. Garbutt, President, AMA Section of Rural Medicine. “With the current physician shortage, it is even more difficult to attract physicians to practise in rural Alberta. We hope by encouraging young doctors to look outside major city limits, it will help smaller centres recruit and retain qualified physicians.”

The 2008 Tarrant Scholarship recipients are:

– University of Alberta: Ian G. Armstrong

– University of Calgary: Eric B. Bly

Named in honor of the late Dr. Michael Tarrant, a Calgary family physician who championed rural medical undergraduate education, the Tarrant Scholarship is Alberta’s largest unrestricted medical school undergraduate award.

AMA’s President Dr. Noel W. Grisdale, a rural physician practising in Black Diamond, commends the Section of Rural Medicine for supporting medical students who have the drive – and the interest – to practise rural medicine. Dr. Grisdale states, “I was fortunate to be a student of Dr. Michael Tarrant and I believe it is very fitting that this scholarship bears his name. He was a wonderful mentor for students interested in rural medicine.”

Tarrant Scholarship Backgrounder

– Alberta’s largest unrestricted medical school undergraduate award

– Award recipients must demonstrate their interest in rural medicine in their undergraduate work.

– Awarded to two third-year medical students annually

– The 2008 Tarrant Scholarships will be presented to a third-year medical student from the University of Alberta (U of A) and from the University of Calgary (U of C).

– Tuition costs are particularly high for medical students.

– At the U of C mandatory payments are $14,397.26 and at the U of A payments are $11,086.

University of Alberta: Ian G. Armstrong

Ian Armstrong grew up on a cattle ranch just outside of the small town of Bassano Alberta. He first realized he wanted to be a doctor when he was in high school. As a young man he aspired to go to university, but knew the big city life wasn’t for him over the long term. Armstrong enrolled in the science program at the University of Alberta and completed a Bachelor of Science in Honors Pharmacology. He applied to medicine in the last year of his undergraduate degree and was very pleased when he was accepted. Armstrong is now a third-year medical student and actively promotes rural health care. He served on the MD Ambassadors Rural Committee in 2007 and will attend the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada conference in Halifax later this year. This summer, he invited several of his peers to come home with him to get a true experience of rural life in hopes of encouraging them to practise rural medicine. Through the Rural Physician Action Plan, he has shadowed several doctors in Bassano and helps encourage rural youth to consider a career in medicine.

University of Calgary: Eric B. Bly

Born in Magrath (a small town near Lethbrige), Eric Bly is no stranger to life in rural Alberta. Bly says the comfort of rural living and the relaxed lifestyle is something he misses and wants his four children to experience. That is the reason he plans to return to his roots and move his family back to the country after he’s graduated from the University of Calgary. Bly’s summer electives in 2007 were spent in Bow Island and Grande Prairie. He has also shadowed rural physicians in the Crowsnest Pass and Cardston. When an opportunity arose to be the U of C student representative for the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC), he jumped on it. He organized and executed the SRPC student membership drive last fall and because of his efforts, the University of Calgary signed up more new members than any other medical school in Canada. Bly is also a member of the U of C’s Rural Medicine Interest Group and Family Medicine Interest Group, an organization that promotes post-graduate training and practice in family and rural medicine.

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