The Department of Family and Community Medicine Residency Program Receives Prestigious Global Accreditation

Oct 22, 2018

WONCA accreditation certificateWONCA president Dr. Amanda Howe presenting DFCM Chair, Dr. Michael Kidd, with DFCM's WONCA accreditation certificate at WONCA's 2018 conference in Seoul, South Korea on 0ctober 20, 2018.

The University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) is continuing to increase its global impact by becoming the second family medicine residency program in the world, and first in North America, to be accredited by the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA).

WONCA is an international not-for-profit professional organization that advocates on behalf of family doctors (family physicians and general practitioners) from around the world and represents family medicine at the World Health Organization. WONCA developed the “Standards for Postgraduate Medical Education” against which residency programs in family medicine can be assessed and accredited, a process considered essential to the further development of quality family medicine across the world.

“We’ve always known that DFCM’s postgraduate residency program was exemplary, but it’s wonderful to see it recognized at a global level,” says DFCM Chair, Dr. Michael Kidd, who is also a former president of WONCA. “This global designation provides international recognition of our education and training programs for future family physicians and creates opportunities for further exciting international partnerships.”

In June 2018, three WONCA representatives, all international leaders in family medicine education, undertook an assessment of DFCM’s two-year postgraduate residency training program. While in Toronto, they visited three of DFCM’s teaching hospital sites, North York General Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital and Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, where they interviewed faculty, trainees and staff. They also interviewed all of DFCM’s Vice-Chairs and our postgraduate program leaders.

The decision to endorse DFCM’s accreditation by the reviewers was unanimous, citing a “consistently strong ethos of education and research scholarship and mature, self-directed learning”. The accreditation team noted that inclusivity, collaboration and mutual respect was evident in the program.

Vice-Chair of Education and Scholarship, Dr. Risa Freeman, says the WONCA representatives were impressed by the logistics and complexity involved in training nearly 400 residents in family medicine at any one time, while still addressing the individual needs of trainees.

“Our vision and values are consistently upheld by our committed faculty and residents,” says Dr. Freeman. “Our students thrive in an environment that provides one-on-one supervision in a collaborative, respectful and flexible environment.”

The WONCA representatives pointed out that it is unusual for a family medicine program outside of Canada to be delivered in just two years, but they recognized that the university is greatly successful at doing so, reporting that trainees feel well-prepared to practice unsupervised and perform well on The College of Physicians of Canada certification exam.

“There are ample opportunities within our family medicine program to develop education and research scholarship”, says Dr. Freeman. “We are pleased that WONCA has recognized this and honoured us with an accreditation.”

Dr. Kidd agrees: “I thank all our faculty and residents involved in the accreditation process, including our postgraduate residency program leadership team, particularly our Postgraduate Program Director, Dr. Stuart Murdoch. I’d like to thank all of our faculty teaching residents across Ontario as well, all of whom contribute to graduating high-quality and competent new family doctors for patients here and around the world.”

DFCM has earned a five-year WONCA accreditation. The official certification ceremony and presentation was held in Seoul, South Korea on October 20th, 2018.


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