Primary Health Care at UBC

When UBC’s Faculty of Medicine offered its first classes in 1950, the medical field was highly specialized, with little emphasis on general or family practice. Under the leadership of Dean Dr. John F. McCreary, the Faculty became a pioneer in medical education for teams of health specialists.

In 1968, the Division of Primary Health Care was established in the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology, with Dr. H. Clyde Slade as the Division’s director. He was instrumental in both the development of residency training in family medicine, and the establishment of family practice as an independent department at UBC.

Dr. Slade opened the first Family Practice Teaching Unit near Vancouver General Hospital in 1969 to introduce students, residents, and interns to family practice.

Dr. H. Clyde Slade


Departmental Foundations

The Department of Family Practice was founded in 1978 with the support of Dean Dr. David Bates, and with financial assistance through an endowment fund from the Royal Canadian Legion’s Pacific Command. Dr. Peter R. Grantham was the first Head of the department and Royal Canadian Legion Chair in Family Medicine.

From its beginnings, the Department offered undergraduate medical students summer placements in family practice. Since 1982, it has also trained doctors for rural practice through its community-based residency training program. The postgraduate residency program has developed to include 19 regional, rural, and decentralized training sites throughout British Columbia.

Dr. Peter Grantham


Stretching Out

Successive Department Heads each made their mark. Dr. Carol Herbert brought a strong focus on primary care research. Dr. Robert F. Woollard oversaw the establishment of the province’s first and only Midwifery Program.

The Department of Family Practice is committed to training physicians and midwives to provide patient-centered care in community settings. In addition to undergraduate, postgraduate, and midwifery education, it offers a clinician scholar program and special interest groups in maternal and newborn health, community geriatrics, global health, and addictions.

Dr. Martin Dawes