With pressure from the Quebec government to produce an equal number of medical residents in family medicine and specialties by 2014-15, McGill University’s medical school — like many in the province — is moving toward creating a curriculum that will try to generate some excitement about a field that is sometimes viewed as less interesting and lucrative than medical specialties.

When McGill started working on a revision of its medical curriculum, only 17 per cent of its students were going into family medicine. Now it’s up to 37 per cent, similar to other big universities like the University of Toronto, but Quebec is increasing the number of residencies it makes available in family medicine and lowering that of specialties, so McGill has moved to meet the demand.

However, some physicians who are worried about the repercussions of the new curriculum seem to feel a push for family medicine is incompatible with the research excellence for which McGill is renown.

Not so, said McGill dean of medicine, Dr. David Eidelman.

“We already have quite excellent research in family medicine and McGill has Canada’s only graduate program in family medicine,” he said. “We’re still graduating a majority of specialists, but society doesn’t only need specialists.”


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April 11, 2013