NEWS RELEASE · 28th April 2010
Ministry of Advanced Education
New government funding of $447,400 will allow the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to expand their diagnostic medical sonography diploma program, doubling the student spaces from 24 to 48, announced Advanced Education and Labour Market Development Minister Moira Stilwell today.
"Since 2001, the Province has funded more than 36,000 additional seats in the public post-secondary system, and we continue to focus our efforts to address shortages in the area of health care, including medical sonography," said Stilwell. "This revised two-year program will provide students with a top-notch educational experience while preparing them to meet the health care needs of British Columbians."
BCIT is the only institution in the province to offer a program in diagnostic medical sonography. The funding will allow BCIT to expand the program from a one-year, post-diploma program to a direct-entry, two- year diploma program and will be used to update the curriculum plus renovate laboratories and purchase new equipment. The updated programming will include cardiac ultrasound, which will help with critical human-resource shortages in the sub specialty area.
"Doubling the number of spots at BCIT is an invaluable commitment," said Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Harry Bloy. "Many people aim to enter the field of health services as it is an extremely vital industry, and we are now able to accommodate the demand for this type of training."
"The Burnaby BCIT campus has seen an extraordinary amount of expansion in the last ten years," said Burnaby-North MLA Richard T. Lee. "As methods and practices change, we need to make sure that these are being updated at our institutions so they can offer our students the most comprehensive training available."
The diagnostic medical sonography diploma program will enrol 24 first year students each year, starting in September 2010. Offered on a full- time basis, the program will provide theoretical, practical and clinical-based training opportunities.
"The funding provided to BCIT will allow us to replace and expand our ultrasound imaging systems," said Bill Dow, dean of the BCIT school of health sciences. "This enhancement will ensure the students entering the new program will have access to up-to- date technology that allows hands-on skill development before entering the clinical environment."
More commonly known as ultrasound, diagnostic medical sonography facilitates a patient's medical diagnosis and contributes to overall patient care. As a member of a health-care team, a medical sonographer uses a variety of hand-held scanning probes and imaging techniques in order to obtain images of various body structures. This technique provides valuable diagnostic information regarding the underlying anatomy and pathology that may be present in the patient.
Since 2001, the total provincial investment by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development into post-secondary health education programs is more than $937 million. Health-related capital investment is over $384 million and total health-related operating investment is more than $553 million.