Maintaining Personal Health During Medical School
Maintaining your health during medical school is important.  You need to stay healthy so you can learn at your best, provide good care to your patients, and be a part of the medical school community. We encourage you to stay healthy during medical school by developing or maintaining good nutrition, exercise, sleep and other health promoting behaviors.  We also encourage you to attend appointments with your physician and other health providers as necessary.  Here are some commonly asked questions about physician visits during medical school.
  1. Can you help me find a primary health care provider?

    Yes- If you don’t already have a local health provider, it can be daunting to try to find one who is accepting patients.  The medical school has several avenues through which you can access primary care.
    1. University Health Services at the Fort Garry campus is open to all students, and has time booked off especially for Bannatyne campus students in the early morning and later afternoon. Appointments can be made in advance at 204-474-8411. The UHS website is:

    2. St James Medical Clinic at 1600 Portage Avenue has agreed to accept medical students for non-emergent, episodic care. You can get more information at their website:

    3. You can use the Government of Manitoba’s Family Doctor Finder to find a physician in your area. More information at this website:

    4. Starting in 2020, there will be a student health clinic, run by nurse practitioners, here on Bannatyne campus. More information will be coming as the clinic is developed!
  1. I’m not from Manitoba- can I still receive health care here?

    Yes- you can receive healthcare in Manitoba as a student, even if you are not from Manitoba, but you may need to keep your healthcare coverage from your home province to do so. Call Manitoba Health at 204-786-7101 or visit find out how to determine eligibility.
  2. Will the medical school know about my health conditions if I access care through University services or those affiliated with the med school?

    No- health information that is shared with your primary care provider is, and will remain, confidential, except when disclosure is required by law for all patients and providers (e.g. disclosure to public health in the case of some transmissible diseases, fitness to drive,.etc.) Any medical record, including one kept at a University of Manitoba clinic, has nothing to do with your Max Rady College of Medicine records, is not stored at the same location, and is not accessible to any faculty.

    You are required to report blood borne pathogens (including but not limited to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C) to the Student Affairs office so that appropriate accommodations can be organized (see blood borne pathogen policy below), and to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba.

    If requesting deferral or leave of absence due to medical reasons, we will also require medical documentation to support the request. The medical information requested/provided will be the minimum necessary to appropriately accommodate the request, and only to those who need to know.

    For example, if you need to miss an exam due to illness but are going to be back at school in a few days, we will require a physician to document that you couldn’t write the exam that day, but not what the underlying illness was. On the other hand, if you have a major illness that will require you to take a leave of absence, we may need more information about the nature of the illness in order to properly plan for your return to school (see Leave of Absence policy below).

    If you need accommodations, Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is the office on campus that sanctions and approves accommodations. Registration with SAS—which necessitates the submission of medical documentation outlining a medical diagnosis—may negate the need to provide a further doctor’s note for deferrals or other academic accommodations. This is the link to their website: 
  1. Will my primary care doctor be evaluating me as a supervisor one day?

    No- The medical school requires that individuals that have provided, or currently provide, health services to a medical student have no influence on the academic assessment or promotion of that student. Any physician involved in teaching is expected to disclose any potential conflict of interest proactively, as should any student (see policy on Conflicts of Interest in the Student Academic Assessment or Advancement for more details)
  1. Can I miss school for medical appointments?

    Yes, medical appointments are a valid reason for absence, in both the pre-clerkship and clerkship years, but you are expected to adhere to the absence policy for notification, documentation etc. For anticipated absences (e.g. scheduled appointment) you are expected to inform the medical school in advance (see the attendance policy for more details):
  1. For pre-clerkship, notify the Program Administrator, Pre-Clerkship at least two weeks in advance of the expected absence. If the session(s) is part of a repeating series, request rescheduling to a future date.
  2. Clerkship-
    1. For a scheduled appointment, seek verbal approval from the preceptor of the affected rotation. Follow up with written communication to the preceptor, copied to the affected Rotation Administrator and the Director, Clerkship Rotation
    2. For reoccurring scheduled appointments, submit a written request for leave including supporting documentation as soon as feasibly possible to the UGME Administrator, Clerkship. 
  1. Do I need to provide a doctor’s note every time I miss school due to illness?

    A physician’s note is generally not required for short absences, but you are required to inform the UGME program of your illness as soon as is reasonable.  If you have longer or frequent absences the UGME office may require medical documentation which will detail the expected length of absence and whether you will need any accommodation to return to studies.  If you need an exam deferral, leave of absence or other accommodations for medical reasons, medical documentation will be required.

    The Student Advocacy office has a template you can take with you to your physician, which outlines which information is necessary to provide and what can remain confidential (see Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals Certificates of Illness below)

    In summary, we hope to help you find a primary care physician who can meet your healthcare needs in a confidential manner throughout your medical training.  You do not have to put your own health on hold while learning to care for others. Please contact us in the office of UGME Student Affairs if you have any questions or concerns- we’re here to help!

Relevant policies and links:

Max Rady College of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education Policy- Conflicts of Interest in the Student Academic Assessment or Advancement 

Max Rady College of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education Policy-Leaves of Absence

Max Rady College of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education Policy-Medical Learners with Blood-borne Pathogens

Max Rady College of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education Policy- Student Attendance

Guidelines for Health Care Professionals Certificates of Illness