Partnership to advance blended education for general practice between McGill Family Medicine and Shenzhen Association of Community Health Department

This past July, McGill University’s Department of Family Medicine signed an agreement with the Shenzhen Association of Community Health (signing on behalf of the Shenzhen Health Bureau), to implement the McGill Family Medicine Blended Education Program for General Practice Teacher Leaders in in Shenzhen. An official signing and launching ceremony with over 100 people in attendance was held in Shenzhen on July 15th.

Primary care at the heart of sustainable health care

There is a global consensus that primary care is the foundation of modern sustainable health care systems. In order to improve the quality of primary care, many countries are seeking ways to increase the number and quality of primary care physicians. One important way to do this is to increase the number and quality of teacher leaders in family medicine.

China has a national plan to train 300,000 new family physicians, known as general practitioners, by 2020. Shenzhen, a city on the mainland across the bay from Hong Kong, with a population of 18 million, is an important economic and financial centre and is home to 3,000 general practitioners spread across 600 community clinics.

Innovative McGill program to train the trainers

A world leader in primary care delivery, research and education, the Department of Family Medicine at McGill has created and will be implementing the McGill Family Medicine Blended Education Program for General Practice Teacher Leaders in Shenzhen. The goal of this program is to strengthen the foundation and enhance the leadership and teaching capacity of family medicine/general practice teacher leaders in Shenzhen. The program uses active-learning principals to keep participants engaged in their education while applying their learning to their practice as teachers and clinicians in Shenzhen.

This innovative program has two components: a 12-month online program, followed by an optional in-person one-week enrichment program in Shenzhen. The online program consists of 12 classes, each composed of lectures with interactive presentations and engagement quizzes.  Each lecture is presented asynchronously whereby the individual learner can view the material at any time convenient for them, providing flexibility in their learning schedule. They will also be completing assignments and participating in discussion forums.  Each class concludes with a face-to-face online session where learners have the opportunity to interact directly with McGill professors.

The curriculum for these 12 classes focuses on faculty development, including family medicine curriculum, teacher/learner relationships, resident evaluation, as well as classes on clinical skill enhancement such as doctor-patient relationship, and management of diabetes in the community.

The optional one-week, in-person program will be held in Shenzhen for those who have completed the 12-month online program. Comprised of in-depth interactive workshops and hands-on simulation activities, it will be led by two McGill Family Medicine professors onsite.

The online program will launch in January 2017 and will be completed by the end of 2017. The experience gained through the development of the McGill Family Medicine Blended Education Program for General Practice Teacher Leaders in Shenzhen can then be applied and adapted to other regions in China and to other countries as part of the development of McGill Family Medicine innovative education programs reaching out to improve primary care across the world. 

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