Why a Curriculum Renewal?
The McGill Faculty of Medicine is widely recognized for the high quality of its educational programs. We have been graduating physicians for over 175 years and are proud of the high quality of our graduates which has contributed to the excellent reputation of our medical school in the rapidly changing field of medicine.
Fifteen years ago, the medical school curriculum was revised significantly, replacing the disconnected teaching of the basic sciences (each subject taught in isolation) with a more integrated systems approach (the familiar unit structure) that forms the current Basis of Medicine (BOM). Eight units each include anatomy, histology, physiology, biochemistry, genetics and epidemiology content relevant to the systems being covered. This organizational framework markedly improved the communication of basic science principles and their relevance to the understanding and practice of medicine. In 2005, the MDCM program was further modified by the introduction of a component termed “Physicianship”, which refers to the dual role of the physician as both healer and professional. Despite this continuous fine tuning, a complete renewal of the MDCM program is required from time to time in order to maintain McGill’s reputation as Canada’s foremost medical undergraduate program and to prepare future generations of graduates to take their place among the pantheon of leading medical practitioners, educators and researchers emerging from the hallowed halls of McGill..
Health care has gone through so many changes that we need to adapt to societal needs. A recent report from the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada states that: "Health care has become increasingly complex and faces enormous challenges in providing quality care to diverse populations. An important need has developed for a cohesive and collective vision for the future of medical education in Canada. While Canada’s Faculties of Medicine are leaders in medical education, continually adapting to changing expectations and requirements, the physician of the future requires skills that will involve further adaptations and reforms to our medical education system The Future of Medical Education in Canada (FMEC): A Collective Vision for MD Education).
What areas require attention?
- Continual revision of the curriculum
- Central management of the curriculum
- Societal needs
- Need to continue increasing the number of students choosing family medicine
- Need for broader/deeper understanding of public health and the health care system, as demonstrated on standardized exams
- Evolution of Medical practice
- Need to instill skills for life long learning
- Scholarship and critical learning are a part of this
- There was limited focus on this
- Need to teach and model interprofessionalism
- Particularly relevant in the context of medical and patient safety
What are our strengths?
- Our systems based teaching (Units) in the Basis of Medicine
- Our Introduction to Clinical Medicine component (bridging Basis of Medicine and Clerkship) which allows intensive clinical teaching without responsibility
- Clerkships with high levels of involvement/responsibility of the students
- Our four year Physicianship program, including our longitudinal teaching/mentoring program of Physician Apprenticeship
What is our vision – what should a McGill MDCM graduate look like?
The values recommended by the McGill Faculty of Medicine Strategic Planning Education Design Group are addressed throughout the longitudinal themes to ensure that our graduates have the following attributes:
- Demonstrate stage-appropriate clinical expertise
- Demonstrate the attributes of Physicianship
- Demonstrate effective communication skills
- Demonstrate interprofessional skills and the ability to be part of a team
- Demonstrate critical thinking and sound decision-making
- Demonstrate evidence of the skills necessary to adapt to changes in practice, technology and societal needs
- Demonstrate understanding of the health care system and the role of public health
- Demonstrate, through independent work, the understanding of scholarship