About Distributed Learning & Rural Initiatives

Connecting preceptors, students, researchers, healthcare professionals and rural communities. 

Our Mission

Engage Communities.

Inspire Social Accountability.

Create Opportunities.

Our Vision

At DLRI, we believe in providing quality healthcare to the people of rural Alberta.  We strive to accomplish this goal by fostering and sustaining meaningful relationships between medical educators, healthcare professionals in training , individuals and families living in rural communities.  Our commitment to education, research and continuous improvement results in the recruitment and retention of dedicated and skilled rural physicians.


Who are we?

Connectors, mythbusters, researchers, doctors

The office of the Associate Dean, Distributed Learning and Rural Initiatives (DLRI), has a presence in the undergraduate medical school, postgraduate residency programs, 26 in all, and further afield to the practicing doctors and preceptors of Alberta.  It is a platform that cross cuts research and the educational continuum to respond to the needs of rural Albertans for health care.

Since the late 1990's, Alberta's med school based in Calgary has provided rural educational experiences to learners.  This has always had its foundation in the social accountability mandate that all medical education institutions have to meet the health care needs of underserved populations. From modest beginnings, this activity now encompasses over 4,000 weeks of education at the undergrad or post-grad level every year. The office oversees program development, implementation and infrastructure support. Infrastructure includes the online learning management system for decentralized learning known as OSLER-PG, housing and transport.

 

We are "myth busters" that create transformational experiences. Undergraduates have a number of opportunities to experience a rural community and this starts with shadowing.  Information on shadowing can be found in the undergraduate page.  Postgraduates, while predominantly family medicine based, also include over 20 other Royal College specialty programs from orthopedics to internal medicine and dermatology. Programs continue to expand their mandated rotations with electives being funded on a first come, first booked basis.  The mandate of DLRI is to encourage the redistribution of specialists into areas of clinical need and that means incentivizing mandatory rotations.

 

Our research has focused on program evaluation, specifically the University of Calgary Longitudinal Clerkship Program (UCLIC), and in understanding barriers/opportunities to rural educational experiences and consideration of rural careers.  On top of international presentations, the office publishes four to six peer reviewed papers per year and specifically seeks to support students and residents in their early forays into health or educational research.