Adaptive, Inclusive, Professional Care

Jun 6, 2018

Dean Trevor YoungDean Trevor Young Tomorrow begins one of the highlights of the academic year, as the Faculty of Medicine’s convocation kicks off two weeks of ceremonial splendour for graduates across the University of Toronto.

[June 7 is also Election Day in Ontario — don’t forget to cast your ballot — but let us not be distracted by politics…]

Our focus is on the outstanding graduates of our MD Program and BSc in Medical Radiation Sciences who will cross the stage tomorrow. The incomparable Loretta Rogers also joins us as our honorary graduand.

For students and families there is that heady mix of excitement and undeniable pride: an important milestone completed with the next professional challenge still ahead. Convocation also offers us all an opportunity for reflection, renewal and re-commitment as well as celebration.

It is a deep privilege to work in a trusted, self-regulating profession like medicine. And with that privilege comes an equally deep set of responsibilities. Given the social accountability and transparency of life in a 24/7 world, these responsibilities are ever more critical, not only for our MD graduates but for all practising clinicians.

Prof. Patricia Houston, MD Program Vice Dean, recently refreshed the program’s overarching goals in a consultative process with faculty, learners and staff that aimed to bring those responsibilities into focus for our learners. To summarize, they identified six qualities of the physician-graduate:

  1. Clinically competent and prepared for life-long learning through all phases of their career;
  2. Adaptive in response to the needs of patients from diverse and varied populations;
  3. Engaged in integrated team-based care in which patient needs are addressed in an equitable, individualized and holistic manner;
  4. Reflective and able to act when faced with novelty, ambiguity and complexity;
  5. Resilient and mindful of their wellbeing and that of their colleagues;
  6. Capable of and committed to ethical decision-making and the highest standards of professionalism, evidence-informed practices and scholarship, and a culture of continuous performance improvement.

I have no doubt our MD graduates will work hard to embody these qualities as they further their education and careers. There will be times when that commitment may flag, when individuals may feel less than fully capable or overwhelmed by the responsibilities of their role. The demands and challenges in healthcare are greater than ever, but so too is our collective capacity for innovation, improvement and renewal.

Tomorrow — as those excited graduands cross the stage to begin their post-MD journeys — we all have an opportunity to pause and reflect on our professional commitments: Can we bring in new evidence and improve outcomes for our patients? How are we adapting to the needs of diverse patient populations?  Are we taking care of our wellbeing and reaching out to help others?

We’ve taught our students the value of asking these questions; let’s take a moment to ask them of ourselves. The future of our profession and our patients depends on it.

Trevor Young
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions


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