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Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318217a437
Addendum: Canada: Saskatchewan

University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine

D'Eon, Marcel MEd, PhD; Linassi, Gary MB, BSc, BMedSC, FRCPC

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Year school was established: 1953.

School URL: http://www.medicine.usask.ca/index.html.

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Curriculum Management and Governance Structure

♢ The Curriculum Committee is a Standing Committee of our Faculty Council, which is the governing body of the college. (See Figure 1.)

FIGURE 1: Curriculum...
FIGURE 1: Curriculum...
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♢ The Curriculum Committee has created several subcommittees to explore different aspects of its work, including goals and objectives, assessment, curriculum delivery, program evaluation, clinical skill development, and content management.

♢ The Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, working through our Undergraduate Education Committee and its subcommittees, is responsible for the implementation and delivery of the curriculum as designed by the Curriculum Committee.

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Office of Education

♢ The Educational Support and Development unit provides teaching development and consulting support for all three levels of training: undergraduate, postgraduate, and continuing professional learning.

♢ The mission is to assist the College of Medicine to achieve high standards of teaching and learning through the provision of client-centered support and resources.

♢ The vision is to become and continue to be recognized nationally and internationally as leaders in the provision of high-quality client-centered support and development resources for medical education.

♢ There are 5.5 professional staff: two with PhDs, three with Master's training, one completing a Master's, one in applied social psychology, and the others in education.

♢ The work is divided between teaching development and scholarship of teaching and learning, with subgroups within the unit attending to these interrelated functions.

♢ Development of a framework for the evaluation of courses and programs is a responsibility of the Program Evaluation Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee, supported by Educational Support and Development.

♢ The Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education is responsible for implementation, including the organization of human and other resources to ensure that the curriculum as designed is put in place and delivered to students.

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Financial Management of Educational Programs

♢ We have not experienced a financial crisis.

♢ Funding has increased with and in advance of increased enrollment.

♢ Under construction are a new research wing and a new stand-alone health sciences complex with accompanying renovations to existing spaces to follow.

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Valuing Teaching

♢ For tenure and promotion, faculty members submit not only a CV but also a teaching dossier.

♢ All newly appointed faculty members are expected to take our two-day course on the fundamentals of teaching and engage in ongoing teaching development.

♢ In cooperation with our College of Education we offer a Master's of Educational Administration program (with an emphasis on medical education) for faculty, staff, and residents.

♢ The university offers several programs for all faculty members, including a certificate program in, and small research grants for, the scholarship of teaching and learning.

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Curriculum Renewal Process

♢ For the last few years the school has been engaged in ongoing quality improvement activity.

♢ We are developing a comprehensive curriculum document with statements about

* our overall educational philosophy (complete),

* goals and objectives for the program (being revised),

* our approach to curriculum delivery (being revised),

* approach to selecting curriculum content (under development),

* fundamentals of student assessment (under development), and

* a framework for program evaluation (being revised).

♢ The current imperative is that we will be starting our clerkship at the beginning of the third year rather than in January of the third year. This demands a new preclerkship plan, which we will have by May 2011.

♢ The Curriculum Committee oversees this process of curriculum improvement and has delegated components of the comprehensive curriculum document to its subcommittees.

* In addition, twice yearly for the past two years the Curriculum Committee has hosted a retreat for all members of the College of Medicine community.

* Writing the actual new curriculum, with schedules and course outlines, has been delegated to a working group of professionals from the Educational Support and Development unit and other areas.

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Learning Outcomes/Competencies

♢ Learning outcomes and competencies have been in place for many years and are being revised as part of developing a comprehensive curricular document. See http://www.medicine.usask.ca/education/medical/undergrad/old-index.html#2.

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New Topics in the Curriculum since 2000

♢ Quality Improvement: two hours of in-class sessions and three modules on QI and patient safety from the IHI Open School in the first year, and two hours of instruction in the second year about medical errors.

♢ Integrative Medicine (formerly Complementary and Alternative Medicine) is a vertical theme within our curriculum and several sessions have been integrated within relevant and existing courses.

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Changes in Pedagogy

♢ One of the most important changes has been the introduction and expansion of Integrative Cases in the first and second years.

* These patient-oriented cases focus students on the application of knowledge from across disciplines and courses to meet patient needs.

* There are 20 Integrative Cases in the first year and five in the second year, with two hours allocated to each one and plans to expand in the years ahead.

♢ Simulation-based training with mannequins and models has expanded considerably.

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Clinical Experiences

♢ Students begin to have patient experiences and learn interviewing and physical examination skills early in the first year.

* At the end of the first year students spend two weeks in a community clinic in a rural area where they are mentored by physicians and hosted by the local health region.

* A large part of their education in the second year is the expansion and development of their clinical skills.

* During the preclerkship years, under supervision, students interact with real, volunteer, and standardized patients.

* Many clinical experiences are provided by physicians in private practice in both urban and rural communities.

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Regional Campus

♢ The medical school is a publicly funded, provincial resource, so two regional campuses have been established with the prospect of others on the way.

♢ Clinical education is centered in three major teaching centers: Saskatoon (location of the medical school), and two regional campuses.

♢ Clinical teachers at our satellite campuses are very eager, provide quality teaching, and attend teaching development workshops at a greater rate than in Saskatoon. This makes the satellite campuses very attractive to students.

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Highlights of the Program/School

♢ Making the Links is an award-winning longitudinal global health elective. The program offers learning experiences in clinical and community medicine for underserved populations in Saskatoon's core neighbourhoods, northern Saskatchewan, and rural Mozambique. See http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/u/usask?q=cache:G7lT3MOlK5MJ:wwwmedicine.usask.ca/leadership/social-accountability/mtl/+making+the+links&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&i.e.,=UTF-8.

♢ SWITCH (Saskatoon Student Wellness Initiative Towards Community Health) and SEARCH (Student Energy and Action for Regina Community Health) are student-run community health care and education centers in our province. See http://switchclinic.ca/about/our-organization/what-we-are/.

♢ There is distributed medical education throughout the province in two major urban centers and many rural communities.

♢ There is extensive small-group and integrative case-based learning for the application of knowledge.

♢ Interprofessional learning experiences, including problem-based learning (iPBL) modules in HIV/AIDS, Aboriginal Health, and Palliative Care, are offered to 200–300 students every year. Recipient of the Provost's Prize for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, these iPBL modules focus on both interprofessional team functioning and content knowledge and skills. (See: D'Eon et al. Evaluating an interprofessional problem-based learning module on the care of persons living with HIV/AIDS. J Research in Interprofessional Practice and Educ. 2010.)

© 2010 Association of American Medical Colleges

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