The Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) Program Directors’ Retreat held on November 29 at the Faculty Club brought together 59 leaders of PGME to delve into the theme of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), as we well as recognize this year’s Residency Program Director Awards laureates. The event aimed to develop deeper understanding of key concepts and formulate strategies to create more inclusive and diverse environments within medical education.  

The day started with the announcement of the Residency Program Director Awards laureates. Regina Husa, MDCM, Associate Dean, PGME presented the Program Director of the Year Award to Nathalie Buu, MDCM, who led the McGill Anesthesiology Residency Program from 2014-2023. “Working alongside residents, fostering their learning and creating a positive environment for them to excel means a lot to me,” she said. “I would like to highlight my incredible team of colleagues and residents. They are like a second family to me, and I share this award with all of them.”  

Dr. Vincent Poirier (on screen), received the Program Directors’ Emerging Leader Award from a different location

Vincent Poirier, MDCM, Program Director for Adult Emergency Medicine, received the Program Directors’ Emerging Leader Award. Connecting virtually from a different location as he was travelling, he said: “it is an honor to be recognized by my department, my residents, and PGME. It is great to see that in the last two years, my efforts to lead positive change as a program director have had an impact and are appreciated.” 

Following the awards ceremony, participants focused on the EDI retreat. “This is such an important topic” noted Dr. Husa. “We are excited to learn from our speakers and share ideas”. Joanne Alfieri, MDCM, Assistant Dean, Curricula, PGME, opened the session by emphasizing the importance of incorporating EDI principles into residency programs and the positive impact on patient care. By training program directors on this topic, she said, “diverse and inclusive environments can be fostered, contributing to a healthcare workforce that mirrors the diversity of the patient population.”  

During the retreat sessions, invited speaker and Emergency Medicine Physician Constance LeBlanc, MD, current President and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, led a discussion on the recruitment process for residents. She explored ways to make the recruitment process more inclusive, such as ensuring websites are welcoming, hosting inclusive social events and ensuring adherence to Canadian Residency Accreditation Consortium (CanRAC) guidelines. Dr. LeBlanc also facilitated a workshop to learn how to formulate action plans for enhancing EDI practices within residency programs.  

David Kaiser, MDCM, Program Director of McGill’s Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Training Program, and Associate Medical Director at Montreal Public Health, argued the importance of applying a trauma-informed lens to resident selection. He shared positive results from implementing EDI principles and trauma-informed practices in the recruitment process of residents, including a survey that garnered positive feedback from applicants. Ophthalmology Program Director Daniela Toffoli, MD, also shared insights into launching an EDI initiative within her department, including the establishment of a formal EDI curriculum, holding an EDI retreat, and implementing dedicated bi-annual grand rounds on topics related to EDI principles. 

Closing the event with an interactive session, Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay, MDCM, Director, Office of Social Accountability and Community Engagement at McGill, led an activity where participants formulated a plan for integrating best EDI practices into their own residency programs, considering the unique needs and challenges of their context.