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Canada reforms medical education to address changing health needs

The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada is promoting a series of reforms to ensure that future Canadian medical professionals have the training, orientation and commitment they need to meet the health needs of a changing population.

The series of reforms and their impact on medical education were described by Dr. Paul Grand’Maison, of Quebec’s Université de Sherbrooke, during a presentation at PAHO headquarters on Feb. 9.

The reforms are being developed and promoted through two related initiatives, the Future of Medical Education in Canada (FMEC) and the FMEC Postgraduate Project (FMEC-PG), both funded by Health Canada. Their goals are to ensure that medical students in Canada receive the best education possible while also ensuring that, as future medical professionals, they are “socially accountable” to Canadian society.

“We need to find an equilibrium between excellence and the public good,” said Grand’Maison. “We must consider the needs of the population we serve. There is too often a mismatch between the medical workforce and the needs of the population.”

One of the major challenges of Canadian medical schools, according to Grand’Maison, is to ensure that sufficient numbers of medical students not only get training in, but also end up practicing, family medicine. He said Université de Sherbrooke’s medical school channels nearly 50 percent of its graduates into family medicine and an additional 25 percent into “broad specialties.”

Among the recommendations of the FMEC project in a 2010 report are reforms in curricula, admissions, and other processes that:

  • Address both individual and community health needs
  • Ensure that the population of medical students reflects the diversity of the Canadian population
  • Promote prevention and public health
  • Diversify learning contexts (beyond large university hospitals)
  • Value generalism (not just medical specialization)
  • Foster medical leadership.

FMEC-PG is expected to produce another set of recommendations specifically for graduate medical education in Canada within the next two months.

Dr. Grand’Maison has twice served as Director of the Université de Sherbrooke’s Office of Medical Education and is currently Director of the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre in Medical Education, also at Sherbrooke.

For more information on FMEC and FMEC-PG visit:
http://www.afmc.ca/future-of-medical-education-in-canada/

 
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