Repatriating Undergraduate Medical Education Accreditation

Feb 7, 2014

Dean Whiteside white shirtIn December, a major step forward was taken for medical education in our country. Canadian medical schools have achieved greater autonomy over our educational standards and accreditation procedures, while at the same time continuing the close relationship with our American colleagues. This will ensure medical school graduates meet their respective countries' standards and are prepared for medical training on either side of the Canadian-American border.

This is the result of a landmark agreement signed between the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Association and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada on December 12, 2013. This is a positive development and I encourage you to read this article from the January 6th issue of CMAJ that outlines this new approach.

Under this new framework, which will take effect June 2014, the American and Canadian accreditation policies and processes will be modified to reflect six principles of accreditation, with a process for regularly reviewing these principles. It will also allow for greater flexibility in addressing some needs unique to Canadian medical education — such as integrating social accountability as criteria — while maintaining high standards. In particular, it will allow Canadian medical schools to move forward with many of the recommendations of the Future of Medical Education in Canada (FMEC) project, which will ensure our medical education system continues to meet the current and future needs of Canadians.

To arrive at this moment, leadership was shown from many quarters of Canada’s medical education community, which has worked thoughtfully and collaboratively with American colleagues. However, I do feel U of T Medicine can take special pride. This Faculty has been a vocal proponent for these changes. In particular, I want to acknowledge the work of Jay Rosenfield, our Vice Dean of Undergraduate Medical Professions Education. As co-author of the landmark FMEC-MD report, and now as national co-chair responsible for revising transitions across the continuum of medical education, he has been a strong advocate for innovation and the embodiment of our Faculty’s commitment to medical education excellence. 

We now turn our attention to the task of implementing FMEC’s recommendations. It will require us to carefully reconceive undergraduate and postgraduate medical education at U of T. With your support, we will continue to demonstrate international leadership through innovative curriculum and teaching models. 

Catharine Whiteside
Dean, Faculty of Medicine, and Vice Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions



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