By Matthew Brett

Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) are accepted as a way to assess learners in clinical settings, but how are these judgements made? How do learners perceive feedback coming from a supervisor’s entrustment decisions? And how do judgements related to the entrustment of learners fully capture their competence?

Dr. Carlos Gomez-Garibello, an Assistant Professor at McGill University’s Institute of Health Sciences Education, will be delivering a webinar on November 17 titled “To Entrust or Not to Entrust, that’s the Competence Question!”

This webinar is part of a series hosted by the Canadian Association for Medical Education. Details and registration here.

“Making decisions about learners’ competence to deliver healthcare is high-stakes, and the processes that are employed to make them must be examined,” says Dr. Gomez-Garibello.


What are Entrustable Professional Activities?

Competence by Design (CBD) is the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s interpretation of a global movement known as Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME).

The objective of CBD, according to the Royal College website, is to “ensure physicians graduate with the competencies required to meet local health needs.” But how can a supervisor ensure that residents meet the required competencies? That’s where EPAs come in.

EPAs are essentially a collection of key learner milestones within a given discipline at each stage of a learner’s progression.

“The process of defining a series of EPAs at each stage provides residents with a clear understanding of the expectations at that stage,” the Royal College website notes. “EPAs focus the supervisor on stage appropriate expectations, which helps supervisors pinpoint a learner’s achievements and areas for improvement.”


Exploring grey zones of EPAs

Clinical supervisors perceive EPAs to be intuitive and well-representative of the type of interactions they have with learners, Dr. Gomez-Garibello notes. But things get more interesting when digging deeper into how EPAs play out in clinical settings.

What are challenges that clinical supervisors and learners experience when conducting assessment based on EPAs? What are some commonalities and differences between judgements of entrustment and competency? How does trust factor into all of this?

Dr. Gomez-Garibello will present findings of his early research on the topic in what promises to be a fascinating presentation and discussion.

Webinar participants will have an opportunity to engage with ideas related to both competence and entrustment and will also receive specific strategies on how to capitalize on both in order to help educate ‘trustworthy’ health professionals.


About Dr. Gomez-Garibello

In addition to his role as an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Health Sciences Education, Dr. Gomez-Garibello is the assessment lead for Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) in the McGill Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. In this capacity, he works with physicians and learners to enhance assessment practices across McGill University’s residency programs.

Dr. Gomez-Garibello’s research is focused on the uses of assessment in the workplace, particularly in the context of Competency-Based Medical Education. His research focuses on factors that influence assessment including a raters’ emotions. He has vast experience in educational research design, with expertise in quantitative methodologies and in the analysis and interpretation of statistical and psychometric techniques.

“To Entrust or Not to Entrust, that’s the Competence Question!” Webinar takes place November 17. Details and registration.



November 11 2020