Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry a $2 billion economic engine for Alberta

FoMD staff - 13 May 2013

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry unveiled its first economic impact study today, demonstrating an impact of $2 billion on the provincial economy in 2012. The report also showed that the Faculty creates and supports jobs for more than 13,500 Albertans and has graduated 28 per cent of the family doctors and physician specialists caring for patients in the province.

Dr. D. Douglas Miller, dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, says the report provides evidence that the Faculty fuels the economic engine of Alberta by generating real income, providing jobs, and educating doctors and dental professionals who stay here to care for Albertans. The Faculty also impacts the day-to-day lives of patients and their families through research discoveries and providing the latest world-class treatments through clinical trials.

"We are the flagship medical school in Alberta and we have a provincial responsibility," says Miller. "Part of how we convert our budget is by educating doctors and dental professionals who move to communities across Alberta. These students become economic drivers and factors that add to the quality of life in these communities."

His Worship Stephen Mandel, mayor of Edmonton, adds: "This report clearly demonstrates the Faculty is an economic pillar in the Edmonton region, and throughout Alberta. The work it does, benefits our children, our parents and our families. Because it is here, we have more family doctors in our city, medical specialists to help our loved ones living with chronic diseases, and amazing medical breakthroughs made right here in our very own city."

In 2012, the University of Alberta provided the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry with an operating budget of $79.6 million. The economic impact study demonstrates that the Faculty generates 2.5 times the value of every operating dollar it receives from the University.

The U of A's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is demonstrating a leadership role as the first medical school in Canada to conduct an evidence-based review of its economic impact. Tripp Umbach, the agency that authored the report, has compiled economic impact studies for several American medical schools.

"The multiple impacts of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry touch virtually every part of the province of Alberta including research, patient care, workforce training and economic development. The Faculty is clearly one of the important drivers of the Alberta economy," says Paul Umbach, the agency's founder and president.

The report looked at the Faculty's operational impact, as well the impact of its patient care activities in partnership with Alberta Health Services, examining both direct and indirect spending. Specifically the report looked at capital and research spending, salaries and benefits, spending by visitors and students, and money pumped into the economy by businesses hired by the Faculty. The economic impact number didn't include the financial impact of research commercialization or alumni, although the report did note the significance of these numbers.

2012 Figures of note include:

  • The Faculty brought in $131.5 million in research dollars in 2011/2012, making up about 40 per cent of the U of A's total research dollars.
  • Faculty graduates from a single academic year create more than $786 million in economic value over the course of their careers (looking only at graduates who stay in Alberta).
  • In partnership with AHS, the Faculty's work with the multi-organ transplantation program is one of the most comprehensive academic/clinical programs in the country.
  • About 52 per cent of the dentists registered in Alberta are U of A graduates.
  • The Faculty annually graduates almost 25 per cent of all medical laboratory technologists working in the province.
  • About 40 per cent of dental hygienists registered in Alberta are U of A alumni.

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry was the first medical school established west of Manitoba and is celebrating its centennial.