MEDICAL EDUCATION: Curriculum renewal and more in the MD program

Guest blog by Dr. Meredith McKague, associate dean, Undergraduate Medical Education

The team in Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) and Student Services in the CoM is doing a lot of amazing work. Often, this work is taking place behind the scenes, as is true of so much that happens at our medical school. With this blog, I’d like to highlight an important area of work, curriculum renewal, and where we are at with various aspects of it.

For pre-clerkship (Years 1 and 2 of the program), curriculum renewal is in full swing. These incredibly important, foundational first two years of our program have been revamped to further integrate biomedical sciences into the Foundations in Clinical Medicine blocks focused on each of the major body systems, and to increase opportunities for students to develop clinical reasoning and evidence-based medicine skills through case-based learning.  We have run the first term of the Year 1 renewed curriculum successfully and will introduce a renewed Year 2 in 2023-24.

Our clerkship (Years 3 and 4 of the program) team and curriculum committee are busy planning for renewal of the clerkship curriculum, with a curriculum retreat that just took place just over a week ago that was focused on that topic.

In other areas, the UGME strategic plan was completed last summer. It identifies five priority areas:

  • Embed structural and systemic supports to achieve equity
  • Indigenous health
  • Support wellness for students, staff and faculty
  • Teaching and learning excellence
  • Community engagement and distributed medical education

Working groups focused on those five strategic priorities meet regularly to track progress in each priority.

In teaching and learning, as we have moved out of the pandemic, the program has developed a hybrid model for delivery of curriculum that builds on innovations developed in our pandemic response. Faculty deliver the curriculum in a variety of ways: in-person sessions, pre-recorded presentations, and remotely delivered presentations. We are working to support further active learning approaches in all sessions to optimize learning. In addition, our Academic Support team, made up of faculty, a staff specialist and members of the Office of Student Affairs, are continuing to develop new strategies to better support learners in achieving academic success.

Students’ performance on the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam Part 1 (MCCQE-1) 2022 exam reflects the hard work of students and faculty. Our students taking the MCCQE-1 for the first time had a pass rate of 96%, higher than the Canadian Medical Graduate (CMG) pass rate of 93%, achieving a mean score of 260 compared to the national CMG mean of 258.

One of our exceptional teachers in the UGME program is Dr. Kelsey Brose, an assistant professor in the Division of Oncology. He just received the College of Medicine Excellence in Teaching Award. The annual award recognizes exceptional teaching practices and significant contributions to the teaching mission of the college. Congratulations, Kelsey!

The college recently announced more good news related to accreditation of our UGME program. Following the most recent January 2023 report, we have now earned the satisfaction of the accrediting body across all 96 elements they review, up from 93 in a 2020 update. No more reports to the accrediting body are required now until our next full site visit in 2026. This is great news, enabling us to focus fully on ensuring we are well placed for all elements for the 2026 visit—work that is well underway already.

The Student Services Career Advising and Mentorship team in UGME have been actively supporting students with elective planning—especially important with the resumption of visiting electives for our students in the Class of 2024. This team is also supporting students with the CaRMS residency application process, another highly significant aspect of medical school. And the team has provided increased support for students in all areas of training. Additional elective planning meetings, residency application review meetings, and residency application mock interviews were some of the expanded supports provided to students this year.

We are making great progress in UGME, and of course there is always a lot more to do. I thank all of the staff, faculty and students in our program for your excellent work and exceptional commitment.