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Research & Graduate Programs

Research in Family Medicine is essential to the achievement of excellence in patient care and education. At McGill, we undertake research :

  • to provide the evidence necessary to underpin high quality clinical care in general practice and to advance the discipline of family practice through new knowledge and knowledge translation.
  • because the future of the profession relies on us determining our own academic path.

Research capacity building, a priority for expansion in our department. Our Clinician Scholar Program for the third year residents and our MSc or PhD (ad hoc) in Family Medicine are preparing future research leaders in primary care. We have twenty-five PhD and clinician scientists with dedicated time for research and who hold major federal CIHR grants and are involved in many other CIHR and provincial FRSQ funded research projects.

In primary care, research is needed that takes into account the specific characteristics of its population and the presentation and prevalence of illness and disease. The context of the doctor-patient encounter plays a major part, and needs better understanding. At the policy level, issues of equity must be addressed. The knowledge base for family medicine must be expanded by integration of multiple methods of comprehension, so we can bridge the gap between evidence and practice.

de Maeseneer et al., The Lancet Vol 362 October 18, 2003

Borrowed and adapted knowledge is insufficient to optimize the potential of a comprehensive, integrative, relationship-centered generalist approach to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities. The knowledge base for family practice must be expanded by integrating multiple ways of knowing. This involves (1) self-reflective practice by clinicians, (2) involving the patient voice in generating research questions and interpreting data, (3) inquiry into the systems affecting health care, and (4) investigation of disease phenomena and treatment effects in patients over time. A multimethod, transdisciplinary, participatory approach is needed to create knowledge that retains connections with its meaning and context and therefore is readily translated into practice. This research integrates quantitative and qualitative traditions and involves the active participation of both clinicians and patients. The generation of relevant knowledge should be supported through (a) developing a culture of reflective practice among clinicians, (b) expanding the infrastructure for practice-based research, (c) developing a multimethod,transdisciplinary, participatory research paradigm, (d) longitudinal study of the process and outcomes of broad, integrative, relationship-centered care, and (e) incorporating pursuit of new knowledge as a central feature of training programs and policy.


Kurt C. Stange, William L. Miller, Ian McWhinney, (Fam Med 2001;33(4):286-97.)