Department of Family Medicine takes leadership role in the education of medical students

As you may or may not be aware, the MD Program at Schulich is currently undergoing a complete renewal, set for implementation in September 2019.  An outline of the new curriculum can be reviewed on our web site at: Doctor of Medicine Curriculum Renewal.

As part of this initiative, the MD Program has asked our Department to provide an early clinical experience for our medical students across the first year of medical school.  One of the main drivers of the Longitudinal Clinical Experience (LCE) program is to assist our MD Program in providing an early exposure for our students to real world patients in a generalist, primary care setting.  This speaks to the new curriculum’s desire to graduate medical students who have a strong base of generalist experience upon entering residency, regardless of the specialty of choice. We vision all graduates for residency having an appreciation of and basic competency in generalist medicine.  This is an exciting opportunity for our Department to take a leadership role in the education of our medical students, and to showcase Family Medicine early on in our students’ clinical careers.

A secondary, but no less valuable, role for this LCE program is to provide the opportunity for early mentorship for our students.  Providing an early clinical role model helps our students to successfully navigate many of the challenges related to learning the practice of medicine.  We anticipate that this program will help students gain an appreciation for the daily challenges we face as clinicians, which in turn will help them to build resiliency and better prepare them for success.

Your participation in this program as a preceptor for a first year medical student longitudinal experience is very much appreciated and satisfies your obligation as an Adjunct Faculty member for the Department of Family Medicine in the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. This experience will be a major influence on the student and extremely satisfying for you, the teacher.

  1. Each faculty member will be matched with a first-year medical student by the MD Program Office
  2. You will be given in the first week of September the identity of the learner. If you find a conflict please reach out to us and we will exchange and assign you a different student.
  3. Starting in September 2019, your matched student will contact you to arrange a time to join you in any of your clinical activities for the equivalent of 16 half days over the eight-month period of September 2019 through April 2020, inclusive
  4. When joining you in your clinical practice, it will be appropriate for the first several sessions to be in an observership capacity, as the students will have had very limited real patient exposure prior to this experience.  However, at your discretion and as you feel appropriate, we would like to encourage you to involve your student in your clinical activities. As you are aware – students require supervision and we see this as each student achieving increased confidence and competence across the one year with you as an educator.
  5. Assessment of your student will be focussed on their attendance, communication, professionalism and engagement, NOT on their medical knowledge.  This assessment is not meant to be an onerous process for you, but to help us identify students who are struggling with these non-medical knowledge issues early on and offer remediation to them.
  6. We would also ask at the conclusion of the year (or at any time during the academic year) for your feedback on the program itself, so that we may improve moving forward.  Feedback would be requested for:


  • Any challenges experienced in arranging and/or coordinating schedules for the students to attend with you;
  • Any challenges experienced in integrating or involving your student within your clinical activities;
  • Any perceived concerns or benefits observed from any involved party (yourself/your staff, your patients, etc.) with having the added presence of a first-year student joining you in your clinical activities


Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this program, either prior to starting or during, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at and I will be happy to respond.

As a first step to the planning and implementation of the LCE, we are asking preceptors to please let us know if they would be willing to participate by clicking here.

Thank you very much for taking the time to assist us with developing this exciting new educational opportunity in Family Medicine for our MD students and colleagues of tomorrow!


Darren Van Dam MD CCFP
Undergraduate Medical Director, Department of Family Medicine
Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry