Expanded UBC Master of Physical Therapy program coming to Surrey

Original story from the Faculty of Medicine

BC Government Press Release

More people in Surrey and the Fraser Valley will be able to pursue careers in physical therapy, thanks to a new training space in Surrey for UBC’s Master of Physical Therapy program.

“Physical therapists provide vital and life-improving services for British Columbians. We know there’s an increasing need for their services across all regions of the province, including the Fraser Health region. That’s why we are investing in this new location to support current and future program expansions at UBC in Surrey,” said Anne Kang, B.C.’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “This capital investment will support the growth of this program, and work towards meeting the demand for physical therapists today and well into the future.”

With support from the Government of B.C., UBC has purchased the second floor of the City Centre 1 building in Surrey adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital. The space will support the expansion of UBC’s Master of Physical Therapy program, which is adding 20 seats in the Fraser Valley starting this fall.

Over the coming year, the space will be transformed to create teaching and research laboratories, seminar rooms, student learning commons, offices, and multi-purpose areas for assessment, treatment and health promotion. Students are expected to move into the new location in Surrey when it opens in 2023.

“This new space is an important part of UBC’s commitment to meeting the growing needs of Surrey and the Fraser region.”
UBC President Santa Ono

“This new space is an important part of UBC’s commitment to meeting the growing needs of Surrey and the Fraser region,” said UBC president and vice-chancellor, Santa Ono. “By continuing to expand UBC’s presence in the Fraser, we’re creating new opportunities for students to learn and train locally, where they’ll build deep connections with communities. We know learners are more likely to practice where they train, and this space will help encourage more physiotherapists to stay and serve families in the region.”

The Province is investing $24.9 million with UBC funding $7.9 million for the project. Work is entering the procurement phase this month with construction anticipated to start in fall 2022.

In the future, other UBC health programs like occupational therapy and midwifery will have opportunities to expand into the new facilities, creating collaborative learning environment for students attending UBC programs in Surrey.

“UBC is grateful to the Province for this strategic investment in training the next generation of physical therapists in the Fraser.”
Dr. Dermot Kelleher

“UBC is grateful to the Province for this strategic investment in training the next generation of physical therapists in the Fraser,” said Dermot Kelleher, Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President of Health at UBC. “The new site also paves the way for future expansion of other UBC health professional programs such as occupational therapy and midwifery in collaboration with health partners to better serve the needs of students, patients and communities.”

Physical therapists are identified as high-demand jobs, with 1,860 job openings in B.C. expected between 2021 and 2031. The new space will help meet demand for physical therapists across the Fraser Valley, while enabling students to train closer to home.

“It is a great privilege to have UBC and the Department of Physical Therapy come to the Fraser region as it is a huge step in training more health-care professionals for this rapidly growing region,” said Aman Bassi, second-year physical therapy student at UBC. “UBC’s presence will help foster an environment of learning, growth and development in this field of practice across the Fraser Valley for future physical therapy students.”

Additional Quotes:

Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation –
“Taking action to close B.C.’s skills and talent gap is a key priority of the StrongerBC Economic Plan. Our generational commitment to accelerate talent development ensures that British Columbians have access to the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health –
“Physical therapists provide a critical aspect of comprehensive health care. Every day, their services ensure British Columbians recover from accidents, injuries and chronic conditions in confidence. Expanding the physical therapy program at UBC is one example of our government’s commitment to meeting our health human-resource needs by working in close collaboration with post-secondary institutions.”

Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO, Fraser Health –
“Every day, physical therapists do exceptional work across the Fraser Health region to help their patients recover and rehabilitate. This program expansion will help meet high demand for their services, helping people remain healthy and independent as long as possible and return to their families and the activities they love sooner. We are grateful to the provincial government and University of BC for their continued partnership, and for this significant investment in training that will ensure these important services remain in place for many years to come.”