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Clinical Teachers at Canadian Faculties of Medicine

The deans and the faculties of medicine in Canada have expressed a pressing need to support clinical teachers during a period of fast-paced growth and expansion of the MD and postgraduate education systems. A discussion paper released by the Association of Faculties of Medicine in Canada (AFMC) in 2009, offers a snapshot of the clinical teaching environment including the challenges and capacity issues.

AFMC received feedback on the discussion paper from a number of medical education stakeholders. These organizations indicated that there is national momentum to enhance support for clinical teachers and that acting collectively is paramount to navigating the complex relationship between clinical teachers, faculties of medicine, universities, medical associations and governments across Canada.

Canadian Collaborative for Clinical Teachers

In 2011, AFMC established the Canadian Clinical Teachers Collaborative. The initiative is led by a steering committee comprised of 14 organizations of which AFMC acts as the secretariat. The goal is to build consensus among stakeholders on recommendations released in the 2009 Discussion Paper and coordinate a national strategy for implementation.

The steering committee is hosting a National Forum on Clinical Teaching on February 3, 2012 in Toronto. The Forum will feature a panel presentation on key issues on clinical teaching, provide an opportunity to review the recommendations from the Discussion Paper and offer an update on the status of clinical teaching at each of the faculties of medicine in Canada. Individuals and organizations, including students and residents, will engage in facilitated discussions to help define the areas of priority and create a blueprint for action.

Steering Committee

  • Advisory Committee on Health Delivery and Human Resources (ACHDHR)
  • Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO)
  • Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC)
  • Canadian Association of Internes & Residents (CAIR)
  • Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS)
  • Canadian Medical Association (CMA)
  • Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ)
  • College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)
  • Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ)
  • Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec (FMRQ)
  • Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec (FMEQ)
  • Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ)
  • Medical Council of Canada (MCC)
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RSPSC)

Study of Clinical Teachers in Canadian Faculties of Medicine: A 2009 Discussion Paper

In response to the need to better understand the environment in which clinical teachers work and the contribution they make to the education of medical students and residents, The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada undertook a study of clinical teachers and is pleased to release the paper titled: Study of Clinical Teachers in Canadian Faculties of Medicine: A 2009 Discussion Paper. The paper is based on a study which provides an evidence-based framework for understanding how clinical educators are being supported during a period of fast-paced growth and expansion of the MD and postgraduate medical education systems. In particular, the study focuses on: discovering best practices in employing clinical teachers; understanding the complex relationship between clinical teachers, faculties of medicine, universities, medical associations and governments across Canada; identifying the resources required to support clinical teachers across all settings; and assessing future and current capacity issues.

The Discussion Paper includes results from qualitative and quantitative data collection activities including interviews, a literature review, and national survey. Dr. David Cook, lead investigator for the project, conducted lengthy interviews with more than 200 informants including administrators, clinical teachers (at both main and distributed campuses), deans, government representatives, and representatives from medical associations. The interviews were designed to give a personal voice to the challenges as well as the successes encountered by those involved in clinical teaching.

As a discussion paper, AFMC would appreciate feedback from our colleagues and stakeholders. Feedback will be compiled and presented to the AFMC Council of Deans.

Please provide your feedback to: Catherine Peirce (email: cpeirce at afmc.ca)