Novel Residency Program Prepares Tomorrow’s Family Medicine Leaders

Dec 3, 2018
A new three-year integrated family medicine residency program that allows residents to receive a Master’s degree while completing their residency is already getting rave review from its first students.

Officially launched in July 2018, the Integrated Three-Year Family Medicine Residency Program (I3P for short) is currently being piloted by the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine. Drs. Elliot Lass, a resident at Mount Sinai Hospital, and Laura Zuccaro, a resident at Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, are the first residents to be enrolled in the program.

“It’s been a great experience so far,” says Dr. Lass. “It complements what we’re doing in our family medicine residency, I’ve already learned many new skills that I wouldn’t typically receive in my residency training.”

The program has two academic components. First, residents develop core competencies in comprehensive family medicine leading to certification with the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Second, they earn a University of Toronto Master of Science degree in System Leadership and Innovation, currently offered through the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. Typically, residents complete two years of family medicine training and some elect to do a third year to focus on a specific area; however, DFCM program leaders, led by Dr. David Tannenbaum, Deputy Chair, Partnerships and now I3P’s Program Director, decided to try something new by integrating a Master’s degree within their family medicine training.

“What’s great is that we’re able to enroll in practicums and extra electives in areas that interests us,” says Dr. Lass. “There’s a lot of variety to choose from so you can really tailor it to your career path.”

Dr. Zuccaro, who has been completing her first practicum with Dr. Danielle Martin at Women’s College Hospital, says the program felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to her.

“I think it’s hard to go back to school once you’ve graduated and are practicing medicine,” says Dr. Zuccaro. “I was offered an incredible opportunity and the timing was ideal – how could you not say yes? Especially if it’s going to have such a big impact on your career.”

Both Dr. Zuccaro and Dr. Lass have backgrounds in leadership roles as both are Chief Residents at their teaching hospital sites. They also have clear intentions to continue in leadership roles well after graduation.

Dr. Lass is currently doing a practicum with Dr. Sid Feldman at Baycrest Health Science Centre. “Beyond having a generalist family medicine practice, I hope to advocate for my patients at a systems level and have a role in medical education. I’m also interested in having a leadership position in care of the elderly.”

After graduation, Dr. Zuccaro hopes to find a leadership role in medical education and at the community level that will complement her future general family medicine practice. For her, the I3P program has already provided many ideas for how to positively impact the health of her patients and community.

“Working with inspiring advocates like Dr. Danielle Martin has opened my eyes to the innovations that are being made by family medicine physicians to try and improve health for all Canadians. There are so many people who genuinely care about trying to make our system better.”

The I3P program will be accepting applications for new students to enroll in the program in early 2019. For more information email Dr. Tannenbaum at david.tannenbaum@utoronto.ca.

 

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