REAP launches Rural Skills Upgrade Program, Closer to Home CME strategy

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The Rural Education Action Plan (REAP) recently announced the launch of two programs designed to support rural physician education and skills training.

The Rural Skills Upgrade Program (RSUP) provides funding for skills enhancement training to new rural physicians, as well as members of the Rural GP Locum Program (RGPLP), Rural GP Anaesthesia Locum Program (RGPALP), and Rural Specialist Locum Program (RSLP).

“The RSUP amalgamates three existing REAP programs – the Rural Locum Service Upgrade, the Urban Skills Enhancement Program, and the First Year Practice Enhancement Program” says REAP Administrative Manager Lisa Oliver. “Combining these three programs allows REAP to offer a broader range of skills training to rural locums as well as physicians new to rural practice before they begin providing service to an RSA community. We anticipate that physicians who take RSUP skills training will feel more confident and capable of facing the challenges of rural practice. Ultimately, we hope that this program will result in increased rural physician recruitment and retention.”

RSUP training opportunities may be undertaken at any time, and may be up 20 days in length per fiscal year. Skills enhancement opportunities for the RSUP are intended for one-on-one preceptorships – funding for courses and conferences is not available through this program. (Locums wishing to access funding for selected courses may do so through REAP’s Rural GP Locum CME Program.)

Interested applicants must have a commitment to an RSA community or be a confirmed member of a recognized locum service prior to applying for the RSUP. For a full list of eligibility criteria, read about the RSUP online.

In addition to the RSUP, REAP is also piloting a new initiative, the Closer to Home CME Strategy, which provides up to $5,000 of funding annually to groups of rural physicians organizing rurally relevant CME events in their home communities.

“We want to support the delivery of interprofessional courses and/or workshops on ‘the front lines’ of rural practice,” says REAP Director Dr. John Pawlovich. “The funds from the Closer to Home CME Strategy are meant, for now, as a supplement to help offset the costs of bringing accredited training into rural communities. It can be used to defray the cost of expenses such as faculty time and travel. REAP strongly encourages rural communities to fund the bulk of their accredited learning opportunities through reverted community CME and/or RCME community funds where possible.”

Application criteria for the Closer to Home CME Strategy are available online.

Funds for both the Rural Skills Upgrade Program and the Closer to Home CME strategy are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To learn more about the RSUP, contact Ms. Hillary Kovach at 604-827-1504 or via email at reap@familymed.ubc.ca.

Inquiries about the Closer to Home CME Strategy may be directed to Mrs. Lisa Oliver at 604-827-4188 or via email at reap@familymed.ubc.ca.

REAP is funded by the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC) and has a mandate to provide educational funding and support that increases the recruitment and retention of BC rural physicians. The JSC is a group that advises the BC government and the Doctors of BC on issues pertaining to rural medical practice in British Columbia.

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