By Matthew Brett

Over 100 guests celebrated the launch of McGill University’s new Institute of Health Sciences Education at a June 11 event with a toast to the former Centre for Medical Education and a glimpse into the Institute’s future.

The Institute, which replaced the existing Centre for Medical Education this past February, is now an academic hiring and teaching unit that can provide graduate programs in health sciences education.

Attendees at the launch event included former Centre Directors Drs. Dale Dauphinee, Peter McLeod and Hugh Scott along with four former Deans of the Faculty of Medicine — Drs. Samuel Benaroya, Richard Cruess, Abraham Fuks and Maurice McGregor.

“Thank you to everyone here today for your contributions to health sciences education,” said Dr. David Eidelman, Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill. “We have such an incredibly rich legacy in the domain in this room today along with very promising signs of things to come.”


44 Years of Innovation: From the Quiet Revolution to Today

The launch event was a celebration of the Centre’s past 44 years as colleagues and friends shared a toast to all that has been accomplished under the leadership of its former Directors.

Dr. Hugh Scott, the Centre’s first Director, said the Centre for Medical Education was a product of its time. The introduction of Medicare, a medical specialists’ strike and the October crisis in Quebec were among the many watershed moments in the 1960s and early  1970s as social change swept the province.

“It was a period of ferment,” said Dr. Scott. “The whole medical system was being turned upside down.”

The Centre officially opened in 1975, quickly proving itself as a resource for medical education research, policy and curriculum development across the Faculty of Medicine.

The Centre evolved with the times from the dynamic years of curriculum development in the mid-1970s to a more reflective focus on medical education research into the 1980s under the leadership of Director Dr. Dale Dauphinee.

The Centre then took a cosmopolitan turn in the 1990s, guided by then-Director Dr. Vimla Patel amidst a period of rapid globalization, drawing international scholars from across the globe and taking an interest in technological innovation, cognition and informatics.

The 2000s marked a solidification of the Centre’s research agenda and an opening of its doors to the McGill community under the leadership of Dr. Peter McLeod, who worked together with Dr. Yvonne Steinert (then-Associate Director of the Centre) to build a community of medical educators and researchers.

Current Institute Director Dr. Yvonne Steinert has overseen the Centre for the past 14 years, spearheading its transition to an Institute.

“The past 18 years have been a wonderful time for me personally and for the discipline of health sciences education,” said Dr. Steinert. “We have grown as an institution and advanced the field in the process, making global contributions to health sciences education. It moves me deeply to see both the founders and the future, as well as our community partners and friends, together this evening.”

A round of applause was also shared to recognize a generous donor whom Dr. Steinert thanks as their gift to the Institute will support a Faculty Scholar, a Postdoctoral Fellow, and Research and Innovation Seed Funds.

A glimpse of the Institute’s future

The launch event also offered an exciting glimpse of things to come, with Drs. Robert Sternszus and Nicole Ventura taking the stage to address the audience, representing a rising group of young and dynamic scholars who are making an impact in health sciences education.

A pediatrician and Institute Faculty Member, Dr. Sternszus was recognized at the 2018 International Conference on Residency Education for his design and implementation of a novel program to teach residents about role modeling. He is also the co-lead of an innovative new elective called Foundations in Medical Education, which draws an interprofessional cohort of students together to design health sciences education curricula.

“The Centre played a formative role in my development, not only professionally but personally,” said Dr. Sternszus. “I am so excited for what we will be able to accomplish together as an Institute.”

For her part, Dr. Ventura was honoured at McGill’s recent spring Convocation ceremonies with the Osler Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Faculty of Medicine.

“A relatively new Associate Member at the Institute, I have quickly come to realize why so many people call it home,” said Dr. Ventura. “It’s far more than an Institute – it is a community, a place of sharing and for building new ideas together.”

Vice-Dean, Education, Dr. Annette Majnemer wished the Institute members success on its launch and Marc Weinstein, Vice-Principal of University Advancement, stressed the importance of philanthropy to ensure the future success of the Institute.

A slideshow of photos collected over the past 45 years flicked in the background as friends and colleagues chatted. Dr. Steinert closed the event by unveiling Institute’s new logo and sharing a final toast to its past, present and future.



June 20 2019