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Project Overview



The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) is leading a major Health Canada-funded project entitled The Future of Medical Education in Canada. The original 18-month project ran through March 2009 and a one-year extension was granted in order to undertake knowledge translation, dissemination and implementation planning activities. The project is intended to lead to a medical education system that can better meet the needs of Canadians, both now and into the future. The overall goal of The Future of Medical Education in Canada project is to conduct a thorough review of undergraduate medical education in Canada based on society’s present and future needs in order to promote excellence in patient care through reform of the medical education system where necessary and essential.

Who is involved

Our project Steering Committee was comprised of 15 individuals from across Canada, including four learners representing student and resident groups, and was actively involved in the early phases of the project, which focused on the evidence-gathering and consultation. The 23 members of the Task Force on Implementation Strategy were brought together in the spring of 2009 to support the development of an FMEC Collective Vision and to provide guidance on the knowledge translation, dissemination and implementation planning phase of the project.

Key activities

There are several key components to The Future of Medical Education in Canada project. An extensive environmental scan was undertaken by a 9-member bilingual research team from The Wilson Centre for Research in Education, University of Toronto and Le Centre de pédagogie appliquée aux sciences de la santé, Université of Montréal. The environmental scan is comprised of a comprehensive literature review, approximately 30 national key stakeholder interviews and a synthesis report. We would like to acknowledge the research team’s significant financial contribution toward our comprehensive environmental scan. International consultations (in UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Netherlands, respectively) were undertaken by members of the project Steering Committee and provided data on best practices, challenges and innovations in medical education in comparable contexts. National-level consultations were held with experts, students and the public via: the project Steering Committee, a high-profile national Blue Ribbon Panel of experts, a Young Leaders’ Forum and a Data Needs and Access Group.

Based on inputs from this early consultative work, the project Steering Committee developed a series of high level, draft recommendations for change for undergraduate medical education in Canada. Deans, and the Blue Ribbon Panel, comprised of senior professionals from a wide range of mainly non-health sectors, provided feedback on these draft recommendations.

The project also involved an extensive consultation and engagement process with all 17 Faculties of Medicine through consultations with Deans and Undergraduate Deans. The proposed recommendations for change were presented at a National Forum in April 2009, in Ottawa, and in May 2009 in Edmonton for discussion, continued validation, and formulation of next steps. The FMEC Collective Vision has emerged from these numerous consultations and meetings, and is currently being refined by the Task Force. It is anticipated that a final version of the FMEC Collective Vision will be widely disseminated in early 2010.