Excellent exchanges at CCME

Guest blog by Kent Stobart, vice-dean medical education

The 2018 Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) was a great event for our college, with eight oral presentations, seven posters and one workshop provided by members of our faculty, students and staff. The conference also serves as an opportunity to highlight medical education achievers. From the CoM, Dr. Maryam Mehtar, program director and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, received the Canadian Association of Medical Education (CAME) Award of Merit, and Dr. Brent Thoma, assistant professor in the Department of Emergency received the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) Young Educator Award.

The conference was held in Halifax at the end of April. It’s the premiere Canadian meeting on medical education, is held annually, and is the initiative of five partners: the AFMC, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the MCC, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the CAME. And it is a wonderful exchange—members of the CoM were there both as providers and recipients of knowledge, and information on best practices and opportunities to improve our methods.

Other highlights of the conference, where we from the CoM were on the receiving end of this exchange, include the opening plenary delivered by Margaret Trudeau. She spoke candidly about her life and her personal struggle with her mental health issue. Dr. Eric Holmboe, senior vice-president with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education provided a serious look at the relationship between academic health science and competency based medical education (CBME). His story of an elderly gentleman who was passed from clinical service to clinical service and eventually left to die was made all the more powerful when he shared that his own father recently died while in the United States’ health care system. He provided an understanding of how patient safety and CBME can lead to better health outcomes.

Though not the holy grail, CBME is one component of improved patient outcomes; this was at the heart of a session featuring a debate between Dr. Jonathan Sherbino, a McMaster University emergency doctor, and Dr. Pim Teunissen from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The conference was closed with Dr. Ian Bowmer’s farewell speech, as he leaves his position as executive director of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) after 11 years, in which he shared his valuable insights on change as it impacts medical education and health care.

Every year, the CCME keeps academic leaders and administrators apprised of national and international developments in medical education. As the CoM strives for continuous improvement in the quality of our teaching and learning, this conference is an important cornerstone of our knowledge and development. The conference both supports and is evidence of Canada’s status as an international leader in medical education.