Associate Dean's Message


Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry’s present curriculum for the Doctor of Medicine program was created in the midpoint of the first decade of the 2000’s. It was grounded in best practices of medical education and meeting accreditation standards of that era.

As medicine advanced during the past few decades, so too have models of learning and in clinical care.

A new approach to student learning has arisen. It has been developed starting with a desire to better support MD graduates who are functioning within an increasing complex changing practice environment. And it was drawn from national and international documents in medical education by the AFMC, AAMC, Carnegie Foundation and Europe,.

In addition to our students changing how they learn, society has voiced a need to ensure our physicians of tomorrow are “competent” – across all competencies in Canadian health care. With this comes a need for new approaches in learner assessment. The past practices of multiple summative assessments across courses is being replaced by a movement to demonstrating and supporting learner competency – throughout their careers. We want students to excel – each and every one - and provide them with what they need to meet the changing needs of Canadian health care.

Through the direction of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Dean, Dr. Michael Strong, the School is moving toward competency based learning across the spectrum from undergraduate medical education (UME) to postgraduate medical education (PGME) and into continuing professional development (CPD).

The goal in UME is to embrace a new learning model that includes CBME and meets the needs of our students providing care in the multiple communities we serve.

The present model graduates are excellent students who progress to residency programs across Canada and the USA. However, we must adapt to new models of education and meet new standards that will make the next decade of graduates excel.

 A CBME model, based in a fully integrated active learning curriculum will support graduates who excel throughout their careers. We will better identify early students who could potentially advance quicker and achieve in four years a second degree or a certificate – enhancing the care they provide after licensure.

A CBME model grounded in supporting all students achieve each curricular goal will position them better for residency match, career satisfaction, and personal success as future health care professionals. Extra support early in curriculum for learners with challenges and innovating the curriculum regularly will provide for all students a supportive academic environment of career success to reach the outcomes we as a school support in MD graduates.

The CBME model will use a series of shorter more focused assessments from biweekly expert knowledge to regular formative and summative review on contributions in small group learning, across performance in clinical (actual and simulated) clinical assessments and in project and other key performance measures in teams and individually across all four years.

The present system of learning, assessing and moving forward will change to one of supporting students on how to learn, mastering medicine in specialty specific and integrated sessions. These will occur across a variety of contexts, and observe each student across the curriculum meet their goals. Progression will no longer by achieving a grade point average In a defined course. We will move to one acknowledging achievement by an independent program competency committee using many points of student review by faculty, peers, and other health professionals.

Through this transformation of our learning model, we will graduate students in a more learner centric curriculum, and meet the vision of Western University to: Leading in Learning:Provide Canada's best education for tomorrow's global leaders” and our school to be: “Global leader in optimizing life-long health through innovations in research, education and active engagement with our communities.”

By better supporting career success of our students with this new model, we see our program and school as graduating clinicians and scientists who are academically and clinically positioned to meet the present and future ever-changing health needs of our region and country.