Since its founding in 1966, innovation has been the hallmark of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine (SOM) in Hamilton, Ontario, and a major contributor to its international reputation for excellence.
The school was founded by a group of innovative educators who developed an undergraduate medical program that stirred controversy and defied convention by emphasizing self-directed learning. McMaster created a revolution in health care training with the establishment of a medical school that pioneered a problem-based learning curriculum, which has since influenced health care education worldwide.
The inaugural convocation in 1972 saw 19 students receive their MD degrees. That same year construction of the McMaster University Health Sciences Centre was completed. The result was a uniquely designed building housing a 370-bed tertiary care hospital with teaching and research facilities for the medical school. Two years later, the Faculty of Health Sciences was formed, incorporating the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing. By the early 1990s, building on its interprofessional character, the Faculty had expanded to include a School of Rehabilitation Science, a midwifery program, various postprofessional diploma programs and graduate studies. Fall 2000 saw admission of the first class of health sciences honors undergraduate students.
Last fall, the medical school moved into the new Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery, a $71-million, 300,000-square-foot facility, linked by pedestrian skyway to the Health Sciences Centre. The building includes small-group classrooms equipped with the newest technology suitable to the needs of our diverse educational programs and state-of-the-art wet labs, one of which is the only university-based human vector laboratory in Canada.
From its early days as the focus of scrutiny over its controversial curriculum, McMaster’s medical school has prospered and has proven that its community-oriented, interdisciplinary, small-group learning provides a fertile environment for educating physicians. In 2003 it was renamed as the Michael G. DeGroote SOM, in honor of the Hamilton philanthropist whose $105 million gift was the largest-ever donation to a Canadian institution. The school regularly receives twice as many applications as any other Canadian medical school. This year, 4,000 applicants vied for 148 entry spots. A completely revamped undergraduate curriculum will be launched this fall. Concept-based and electronically enhanced, it was developed by a team led by Dr. John Kelton, dean of the medical school, and dean and vice president of McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
McMaster currently has 434 undergraduate medical students and 530 medical residents working in 44 specialties and subspecialties. Medical students and residents can gain clinical experience at any of seven academic hospital sites and numerous community health care centers throughout the city of Hamilton, as well as through placements in more than 60 small and rural Ontario communities, which supports the school’s mission of distributed education.
Faculty affiliated with the medical school are integral to the Faculty of Health Sciences’ international recognition for groundbreaking research. In 2003–2004, investigators in Health Sciences were overseeing $108 million in research funding, much of that research conducted by scientists and physicians who teach in the Michael G. DeGroot SOM.
For more information about the Michael G. DeGroote SOM, please visit 〈http://www.fhs.mcmaster.ca〉.
Manager, Public Relations, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster UniversityMichael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.