U of A to offer high-demand health-care programs in rural Alberta

More future health professionals will be able to study closer to home and go on to provide vital services in local communities, thanks to new provincial funding.


People in central Alberta who want to become professional health therapists will have more opportunities to take master's programs closer to home and practise in their communities once they graduate, thanks to new provincial funding. (Photo: Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine)

People from central Alberta seeking careers in health care will have more opportunities to pursue professional programs closer to home, thanks to new provincial funding for three programs to be offered at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus.

The province is providing more than $7.4 million to create 44 seats per year for satellite master’s programs at Augustana in speech language pathology, occupational therapy and physical therapy, all offered by the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

“The Augustana community welcomes enthusiastically the return and expansion of these professional programs on our campus. They will benefit those looking to study and work in rural Alberta,” says Demetres Tryphonopoulos, dean of Augustana.

The new funding is part of a $193-million investment by the Alberta government to create nearly 8,000 new seats for high-demand post-secondary programs across the province in priority sectors including health care, technology and business.

“The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine is thrilled to be partnering with Augustana faculty and the Camrose community to establish a satellite option for all three of our professional rehabilitation programs,” says Tammy Hopper, dean of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

“This type of distributed education approach allows our programs to be accessible to students who wish to study and work in rural Alberta, where we know there is a shortage of physical, occupational and speech therapists.”

More than 3,400 of the new seats being created are in health-care training programs, including 60 new physician seats being added at the U of A and University of Calgary over the next three years.

The funding will also allow 40 new seats to be created for other U of A health science programs, including nearly $2.7 million for 22 seats in the BSc in medical laboratory science, $288,480 for six seats in the MSc program in public health, and $320,000 for 12 seats in the course-based master’s program in modelling, data and predictions.