Representation and Education
Through a variety of projects, including the elective standardization initiative and the distributed medical education project, the CFMS continues to examine the issue of capacity in the Canadian medical education system. Based on a significant increase in enrollment, overcrowded clinical rotations and difficulties obtaining electives, students are increasingly concerned that capacity for teaching and learning is currently being exceeded. As such, the CFMS (with the help of AFMC) continues to monitor the availability of clinical preceptors, electives and the quality of clinical experiences. The CFMS presented this topic to the AFMC Council of Deans at the recent Canadian Conference on Medical Education in St. John’s and the feedback from this session is being used to focus further efforts on this issue. A formal study is required to accurately characterize the availability of clinical preceptors, the number of hours spent teaching learners and the quality of learner rotations. The CFMS is currently investigating the feasibility, resources and knowledge required for such a study.
Medical student professionalism has become a concern across the country and the MCC and AFMC have been working to produce policies pertaining to this topic. Currently the faculties of medicine are formulating such policies individually. The CFMS is exploring the issue of professionalism using national and international comparisons and hopes to develop a set of recommendations centered around the CanMEDS roles. Our concern is that the policies be fair and not overly intrusive while also serving the needs of students, faculties, the medical profession and the public. A formal report was completed in fall 2010.
Political Advocacy Committee (PAC)
The Political Advocacy Committee (PAC) was developed in 2007 by the CFMS to address a growing interest in representation on political and social issues important to medical students. The PAC mandate includes 1. Outlining educational, political, and social issues of importance to medical students, 2. Determining potential future topics and assisting in document preparation for CFMS Lobby Day, and 3. Promoting ongoing regional lobbying efforts. Each medical school has a PAC Rep who coordinates the school’s local committee. Each local PAC is responsible for conducting an environmental scan to assess the political issues of importance to their own student body. Each PAC then develops and completes a grassroots advocacy campaign pertaining to those issues identified as important.
In addition to their coordination of the local grassroots initiative, each local PAC rep serves on the National Political Advocacy Committee. The National PAC is chaired by the VP Advocacy. This committee is responsible for national representation on political issues, through organization of the Federal Lobby Day, coordination of the position papers, and national campaigns pertaining to advocacy topics.
The CFMS continues to work in collaboration with the AFMC in the Electives Application Standardization Initiative. The initiative is intended to create a uniform national process and set of timelines for applying to visiting student electives across the country. It is also intended to help standardize requirements such as immunizations and decrease the administrative burden on both students and faculty representatives.
In November 2010, the AFMC approved a budget to move this initiative forward. The Canadian Electives Portal Management System (CEPMS) for Faculties of Medicine was founded and a governance committee consisting of CFMS Executives, AFMC Deans and AFMC administrative staff was established to move this project forward.
The Governance Committee met for the first time in January 2011, marking the beginning of the development of said portal. A tentative timeline was establised:
1. Environmental scan, development of RFP for portal development and identification of potential vendors: Jan 2011-Sept 2011
2. Awarding RFP and development of portal: Oct 2011-July 2012
3. Implementation across 17 Faculties, evaluation of system, technical support and trend analysis: August 2010-March 2013
Accreditation Standards for Pre-Departure Training
Members of the CFMS Global Health Program and Executive are currently working with representatives from the American Medical Students Association, and the AFMC to develop a proposal for an accreditation standard amendment regarding appropriate pre-departure training for medical students participating in global health elective experiences. The group has reviewed the LMCC standards and is in the final stages of preparing the proposed amendment.
Distributed Medical Education (DME)
During the 2008/2009 academic year, the CFMS conducted a student-centered review of the academic, socio-political and personal impact of DME and recommendations were prepared. At this time the primary issues on the table is capacity and student services. Through DME, faculties of medicine are expanding rapidly and the rate of growth may be exceeding available capacity and infrastructure
In order to better understand the reality of DME from a medical student perspective, a DME Task Force was struck in the 2009/2010 academic year. In the 2010/2011 year, an online forum was developed in order to allow for collegial exchange on DME practices. In addition to providing members schools with a rich source of information to help improve DME practices locally, data extrapolated from this task force will be used to complete the final report for the project and develop a set of best-practice guidelines.
Parenting in Medical School
CFMS has taken on a review of policies pertaining to parenting in Canadian medical schools. A final report summarizing the policies and supports available across the country will be available soon.
AFMC Recognition of Leadership Positions
CFMS hopes to advocate for the provision of protected time for learners involved in leadership positions with national medical education organizations. In the October 2009 CAIR AGM, this issue was raised and we understand that CAIR has upon request from the resident written to his/her program director and cc the postgraduate dean, outlining the resident’s work at a national stakeholder meeting and emphasizing the CanMEDS roles that the resident achieved by doing this work. CFMS executive are keen to further collaborate with CAIR on this issue.
Duty Hours Project
During the AGM 2009 Education round table discussion in Thunder Bay, senior medical student duty hours were identified as a topic of concern for the CFMS membership. Of particular interest were duty hour policies, the extent of standardization across CFMS member schools, methods/extent of enforcement of said policies.
During the 2009/2010 academic year, duty hour regulations at each member school were collected and main points were summarized. Resident work hour regulations were also collected and contrasted to medical student work hour regulations. A survey was then formulated and sent out to the graduating classes of 2010 and 2011 during the summer of 2010. This survey will be sent out again in Winter 2011 to a different population (class of 2012). Formulation of a the final report is projected for Spring-Fall 2011.
Communications and Organizational Development
Corporate Memory Project
The CFMS is undertaking a “Corporate Memory Project” which involves the creation of central online platform for all organizational information, historical documents, and our first organizational history. The project is well underway and promises to help ensure continuity in the organization and allow for a historical understanding of the CFMS’s place in the Canadian medical landscape.
Policy Paper Review
During the 2009/2010 academic year the CFMS has undertaken a full review of all its policies and position papers to ensure they are up to date and still reflect the views of the organization and Canada’s medical students. An interim report on issues arising from this project was presented at the CFMS AGM in May 2010. As part of the process the CFMS is developing a measurement process for the development, implementation and tracking of policies and position papers.
The CFMS has undertaken a ‘green audit’ to assess whether their processes and actions correspond with their 2009 Green Charter. CFMS has made great strides in becoming green, minimizing the environmental impact of general meetings (e.g. paperless, limited travel, local purchasing).
Under the green charter, CFMS has also formulated letters describing the effects of environment on health and these have been sent to various political party leaders.
Events and Services
International Federation of Medical Students Association General Meeting August 2010
The CFMS hosted over 800 medical students from across the world at the 2010 General Meeting of the International Federation of Medical Students in Montreal, QC August 2010. The event was the first time Canada hosted the world’s medical students and it was an outstanding success!
Global Health Program
The GHP continues to be a thriving section of the CFMS bringing much value to members. Members continue to travel on unilateral and/or bilateral exchanges to countries around the world and an international mentorship program. A standardized pre-departure training module has been developed and not only garnering significant attention but is already being implemented at some schools. National Officers of Health attend meetings around the globe including those of the International Federation of Medical Students (IFMSA) and the Global Health Education Consortium where they participate in international partnerships involving advocacy, organizational development, and educational projects.