Alumni Recognized for Commitment to Rural Medicine

June 3, 2024
Selkirk College RPM Program alumni Dr. Svetlana Hadikin stands outside the hospital.

Rural Pre-Medicine (RPM) Program alumni Dr. Svetlana Hadikin is being recognized for her inherent commitment to creating a stronger healthcare system outside urban centres.

At the Rural Coordination Centre of British Columbia’s annual conference in May, Hadikin was honoured with a 2024 Rural Health Award. Selected as the recipient of the inaugural Resident Leadership Award due to her sustained interest in rural and remote medicine in BC, the graduate of Selkirk College’s innovative three-year RPM Program is currently a second-year family medicine resident working in Fruitvale. 

“My goal has always been to contribute to alleviating a gap that is ever-present and does not seem to be shrinking, despite the best efforts of many dedicated rural family doctors,” says Hadikin.

Growing up in Castlegar, Hadikin entered the RPM Program in September 2015 straight out of Stanley Humphries Secondary. After graduating from the three-year program in 2018, she was one of the first Selkirk College students to enter the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine. 

Passion Fuels Drive for Improvement

The RPM Program admitted its first cohort of students in September 2014 in a bold initiative launched in partnership with the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues. The goal was to design an undergraduate program in a rural setting for historically underrepresented students with strategic supports in place to increase the number of learners who move along the pathway to future careers in health. A decade later, former RPM students are completing medical residencies and beginning practice in allied health professions.

Selkirk College RPM Program alumni Dr. Svetlana Hadikin with award winners at RCCBC Conference
Rural Coordination Centre of British Columbia’s Dr. Stuart Johnston (far left) and Leslie Carty (back far right) award the 2024 BC Rural Health Award recipients (back row from left to right): Darcy Dober, Charleigh Rudy, Dr. Magda Du Plessis, (front row) Mike Sudnik (on behalf of the community of Dawson Creek), Dr. Svetlana Hadikin and Dr. Robin Routledge.

“The further I got into my education, it made me want to do rural medicine even more,” she says. “Selkirk College set a very good foundation, it is designed very well with not only the sciences but the social sciences as well. Through medical school, a lot of the experiences that I had in clinics reinforced that I do not want to be in an urban centre. The practice in a rural area is a lot broader, where as in urban centres it felt more like a referral service. Getting to be in family medicine in rural centres, you get to dig into the problems yourself before referring them off.” 

Since 2007, the Rural Coordination Centre of British Columbia has been working to improve the health of rural people and communities in British Columbia with focus on building relationships to improve rural training opportunities for medical students and residents to bridge gaps in rural healthcare delivery. Led by rural doctors, the organization has grown into a network of hundreds of people—rural doctors and other healthcare providers, healthcare administrators, community members, policymakers, educators, researchers, and non-profit and business leaders.

Hadikin was nominated for the 2024 Resident Leadership Award by her colleague Dr. Rebecca Flynn.

“Svetlana and I have been in residency together for nearly two years and I have witnessed first-hand her passion for rural healthcare,” says Flynn. “She advocates for her patients, as well as for her rural resident colleagues on a regional and provincial level.”

One of the most appealing things about rural practice for Hadikin is how tirelessly rural physicians work to provide as much in-house care as possible for their patients, aiming to reduce barriers to accessing specialist care. To achieve this, they are always expanding their skillsets.

“I appreciate that the field is ever-changing and will constantly challenge me to learn and improve,” says Hadikin, who lives in Rossland. “As I near the final months of my family practice residency, I look forward to the years that will follow, pursuing a career that I am passionate about, surrounded by peers who also carry similar goals and values.” 

Learn more about the Selkirk College Rural Pre-Medicine Program.

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