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Medical education excellence

Memorial University’s MD program receives full accreditation

Teaching and Learning

By Virginia Middleton

Memorial University’s doctor of medicine (MD) program continues to show its success in medical education by receiving a full eight-year accreditation – the longest term possible.

Three people stand abreast in a lobby with people behind.
From left are Dr. Taryn Hearn, Brian Kerr and Dr. Margaret Steele at the accreditation reception in the Faculty of Medicine.
Photo: Jennifer Armstrong

In Canada, all undergraduate medical education programs must receive accreditation from the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS).

The process of undergraduate accreditation is used to demonstrate that MD programs are delivering high-quality, dynamic and innovative academic programming to medical students while enabling faculty to be exceptional teachers.

The accreditation provides assurances to medical students, graduates, the medical profession, health-care institutions, health authorities, regulatory authorities and the public that educational programs meet reasonable and appropriate national standards for educational quality.

“The Faculty of Medicine continues to demonstrate its delivery of a strong medical program.” — Dr. Neil Bose

It also provides confidence that graduates of such programs have a complete and valid educational experience at this level of their training.

“Congratulations to faculty, staff and students on this tremendous accomplishment,” said President Neil Bose. “At a time when our communities have a great need for health-care professionals, the Faculty of Medicine continues to demonstrate its delivery of a strong medical program where graduates can have confidence in the education they have received.”

Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine has received national recognition for its excellence in training and producing physicians, especially those with a rural focus.

“As the only medical school in the province, we have a special obligation to the communities we serve.” — Dr. Margaret Steele

The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada has awarded Memorial the Keith Award nine times and the Rural Undergraduate Medical Education Award four times, which recognize excellence in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the many faculty, staff and learners who were involved with the process and documentation leading up to and during the accreditation visits,” said Dr. Margaret Steele, dean, Faculty of Medicine. “As the only medical school in the province, we have a special obligation to the communities we serve and that includes preparing our learners for the next step in their medical education.”

Local accreditation leads included Dr. Taryn Hearn, faculty of undergraduate accreditation lead, who is also the associate dean of undergraduate medical education, and Brian Kerr, undergraduate medical education curriculum and accreditation advisor.

Virtual experience

An accreditation site visit team, appointed by the CACMS secretariat, includes medical educators from other Canadian universities, including a dean of medicine as the chair, as well as CACMS representatives and a medical student from another medical school.

Typically the accreditation site visit team will conduct two in-person visits.

Because both visits were completely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it required faculty, staff and learners to be creative and flexible when having the accreditors meet with the many groups of faculty, staff and learners to discuss aspects of the undergraduate program.

This included creating videos to provide virtual tours of key spaces that are usually reviewed by the accreditation committee.

Watch one of the videos below.

While the next accreditation will take place in 2030, Dr. Hearn says that accreditation is a continuous process.

“Medical education is always advancing and evolving,” she said. “We recognize the importance of ensuring we are providing the best education our undergraduate medical students can receive here at Memorial University.”

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