Dear Students and Colleagues,

In July, I updated you on the actions we are taking to address deficiencies cited in our last Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) accreditation report. As already communicated to you, we were surveyed in early 2015 by the U.S. Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) and the Committee on the Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS), as part of their normal eight-year cycle. Following the LCME-CACMS visit, our UGME program was accredited, but with probation.

Our work to tackle the issues raised continued throughout the summer, led by the Accreditation Implementation Committee we established and based on the preliminary action plan we put in place when we first received feedback from the accreditors. On September 16 and 17, the CACMS Secretariat came to the Faculty, as scheduled, for a consultation visit, the purpose of which was to review the preliminary plan to ensure it is on the mark and on track for submission by the December deadline.

This month’s update focuses on the CACMS Secretariat visit, as well as other aspects of the action plan that are progressing.

CACMS Secretariat Visit, September 16-17

I am pleased to share with you that the two days of meetings with the CACMS Secretariat were positive, productive and valuable. Our visitors reiterated their appreciation of our action plan, progress and transparent communication. They praised our initiative to launch the new Office of Social Accountability, which aligns with the spirit of the CACMS equity and diversity standards. They also acknowledged, once again, the remarkable engagement and commitment of all students, faculty members and staff involved, which is clearly a McGill strength and point of pride.

However, we are not out of the woods. The CACMS Secretariat highlighted critical areas, including the restructuring of the Curriculum Committee and the need to formalize communication channels, collect additional internal survey data and improve the clinical learning environment. We will intensify our efforts in these areas significantly in the coming months, so that we are able to demonstrate the effectiveness of our changes before the CACMS Limited Site Survey in early 2017. We will also refine the action plan based on the feedback from the Secretariat to ensure it is as robust as possible, and continue to implement it rigorously. An updated plan will be shared with you shortly.

Accreditation Timeline & Milestones

We will continue to consult with the CACMS Secretariat over the coming months, recalibrating our efforts as needed. Our next milestone is December 1, 2015, when our final action plan is due for submission and formal review by the CACMS Secretariat.

Organizational changes within the Faculty

Our search for a Vice-Dean, Education, is progressing. As communicated earlier, the Vice-Dean will bring additional support to the Faculty’s educational mission across our schools, and will provide immediate and invaluable support to the UGME program. Earlier this summer, we also appointed a new Associate Director of Administration for our Medical Education Services, including UGME.

Similarly, our search for an Associate Director of Accreditation is on track. This person will reinforce the current Accreditation Office, responsible for all professional program accreditations in the Faculty of Medicine, including the UGME program, the Postgraduate program, the Continuing Professional Development program, the Nursing program, etc.

We continue to review the organizational structure and resource requirements, and will make additional changes as needed.

Implementation of Action Plan

The following section highlights recent actions taken to align the UGME program with the CACMS standards and elements.* Note that this is not an exhaustive list; the preliminary action plan remains available online.

–        IS-14-A: Service learning (Element 6.6) – The second iteration of the Community Health Alliance Program under the new MDCM Program is under way. We are now able to demonstrate that every medical student who wishes to participate in service learning is able to do so, as required by the CACMS standard.
–        ED-2: Monitoring of completion of required clinical experiences (Element 8.6) – Every clerkship rotation in the outgoing and new curricula now has clearly defined mandatory clinical encounters, including the setting in which the encounter is to take place and the level of medical student responsibility.
–        ED-25-A: Clinical supervision of medical students (Element 9.3) – A clinical supervision policy that will extend to all trainees has been completed and provisionally approved by the Faculty’s Deanery Executive; ratification by the Faculty Leadership Council is pending.
–        ED-27: Assessment system (Element 9.4) – Every clerkship rotation in the outgoing and new curricula now requires that each medical student be observed taking a patient history and performing a physical exam/cognitive assessment.
–        ED-38: Workload Policy (Element 8.8) and MS-26: Personal counseling/Well-being programs (Element 12.3) – Communication plans have been formalized and initiated to reinforce the high importance of the UGME Workload Policy and Flex Days (included in the Absences and Leaves Policy), as well as other UGME policies (see recent Faculty-wide message). Promotion of the MedWell Office has also increased.

–        FA-14 Mechanism for faculty participation (Element 1.3) – The Faculty of Medicine is in the process of accepting nominations for representatives on the soon to be launched Faculty Council.  With its inception, the existing governance structure in the Faculty of Medicine will become more robust and aligned with university governance models.

I would like to reiterate that, while the UGME program is on probation, it remains fully accredited. Additionally, this accreditation survey applies exclusively to UGME and not to the Faculty’s other programs. I will also remind you that you can access the preliminary action plan, Implementation Committee mandate and composition, CACMS letter, FAQs and other information online at any time.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to, once again, thank each and every one of you currently involved and who will be called on to lend a hand as we continue to step up to this challenge together. I will update you regularly as we progress, and I welcome all comments from students, faculty, staff, residents, alumni, parents and the community that will contribute constructively and help us to continue to excel.


David Eidelman, MDCM

Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine

*Following changes in accreditation requirements made by the CACMS this year to adapt to the Canadian context of medical education, UGME will henceforth be accredited based on new standards and “elements.” This in no way absolves us of our responsibility to act on the deficiencies identified in our most recent UGME accreditation survey conducted earlier this year. For more information, click here.