News release

New Medical Student Clerkship Program Launches in New Waterford, North Sydney

Medical students are getting hands-on training in Cape Breton through a new program designed to introduce future doctors to practicing in rural communities.

For the first time, four Dalhousie University Medical School students are spending their entire third-year in North Sydney and New Waterford as part of their training. Normally third-year students complete short placements in various communities.

“This is a great way to offer on-the-job training in family medicine and other areas,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “The program provides students the chance to experience Cape Breton – and rural family medicine – early in their studies and interest them in eventually building a career there.”

Students will provide community-based care under the supervision of local doctors during their 48-week clerkship. They will also work with other specialties and health-care providers in the community.

Government is investing about $120,000 in the clerkship program.


This program afforded me one of my first opportunities since high school to pursue my education at home in Cape Breton. I was drawn to the innovative educational model, the variety of clinical experiences and the close-knit community in the health care system and throughout the island. I look forward to learning from our local doctors in Sydney and North Sydney and being a part of the team. Connor Bray, third-year medical student doing clerkship in North Sydney

We are very excited by this opportunity to welcome four third-year medical students to our communities for the next 48 weeks. The students will work closely with family medicine and specialty physicians. They will be exposed to a comprehensive clinical experience and will benefit from the teaching expertise that has been fostered in Cape Breton over many years. Dr. Joan Salah, co-director, Cape Breton Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum

Dalhousie Medical School is thrilled with government’s investment to open our first Nova Scotian Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum site in Cape Breton. The program provides excellent family medicine based educational experiences for our learners and attracts them to work in community practices following the completion of their residencies. Dr. David Anderson, dean, Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine

Quick Facts:

  • this initiative is based on similar programs Dalhousie offers through its New Brunswick campus
  • it is one initiative underway to expose medical students to rural practice, the other being the expansion of residency seats in rural Nova Scotia
  • the university’s goal is to have one third of its medical students take part in the clerkship program around the province, over the next four years
  • four undergraduate seats were added to Dalhousie Medical School this school year, which started at the end of August. Twelve more will be added for the 2020-21 school year for a total of 94 seats for first year students
  • more than 180 family doctors and specialists have started working in Nova Scotia since April 2018

Additional Resources:

Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship Dalhousie:


Media Contact:

Barbara MacLean
902-424-7558 Email: