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NEWS RELEASE · 10th April 2010
Ministry of Advanced Education
The Province is providing the College of New Caledonia with almost $2.7 million for equipment and start-up costs and over $590,000 in annual funding for a new medical radiography technology diploma program, announced Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and Pat Bell, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie and Minister of Forests and Range.

"This is great news for residents in Northern B.C. as we continue to expand medical training in this part of the province and prepare for the opening of the Northern Cancer Clinic," said Bond. "Training northern students close to where they live means they are more likely to pursue rewarding careers delivering the health care Northerners need and deserve in this part of the province."

Medical radiography technologists create computer-generated images to help health-care teams diagnose medical issues, from simple X-rays to diagnose a broken bone to more sophisticated procedures that can detect heart or brain abnormalities.

"Congratulations to CNC as they continue to be an integral part of ensuring we have trained health-care professionals who can deliver the quality of care we have come to expect," said Bell.

The college will welcome the first students to the new medical radiography technology diploma program in September 2011. The diploma is a two-year program that includes a practicum in a health-care facility that provides students with hands-on clinical experience.

CNC will use the nearly $2.7 million dollars in start-up funding to purchase equipment and construct three radiography rooms on the Prince George campus. Annual funding of more than $590,000 will allow for 16 students in both the first and second years of the program, with the first graduates in August 2013. The Province previously provided CNC with over $245,000 for the cost of planning and development.

"Having more skilled health-care professionals in this part of the province means residents will have to travel far less to receive the care they need," said John Rustad, MLA for Nechako Lakes. "I'm proud that our government continues to show a commitment to northern B.C. residents."

The College of New Caledonia will join the British Columbia Institute of Technology as the only two institutions providing the technologist diploma. CNC is working closely with BCIT on developing a curriculum that will give students the cutting-edge knowledge they need to provide the very best diagnostic services. The two institutions are also partnering in the purchase of equipment so students have access to the latest technology during their studies, and savings are realized through joint purchasing.

"This new program will help address the shortage of technologists identified by the Ministry of Health Services," said Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. "It is also the latest example of how we are giving students more choice, more access, closer to home."

The addition of the medical radiography technology program is the latest in a series of advances in the training of health professionals in the northern part of the province. The Northern Medical Program, the Northern Nursing Collaborative and the medical laboratory technology program at CNC are helping to develop health professionals that are more likely to remain in the north after graduating. Professionals will also have expanding career options with the opening of the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North in 2012.

"We are very excited to be implementing the MRT program at CNC. It will fulfil a critical need for skilled medical imaging technologists to work in hospitals, as well as in support of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy and new cancer clinic in Prince George," said CNC president John Bowman. "The new MRT program would not be possible without the support of our health and education system partners and the tireless effort and vision of CNC's vice-president, community and student services Cathe Wishart and our dean of health sciences, Patricia Covington."

Since 2001, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development has provided more than $553 million in operating funding for health-related training and invested over $384 million in capital projects that support those programs.