Feb 28, 2022

Chair’s Message: How do we prepare family doctors for the future, and prepare the future health system for them? (Feb. 2022)

Chair's Message, About DFCM, Education, Faculty, Faculty Development, Global Health and Social Accountability, Grad Studies & Fellowships, MD Program, Quality and Innovation, Residency, The Office of Education Scholarship, Research
Dr. Danielle Martin teaching a learner

Dear Colleagues,

As family doctors, researchers and teachers we are all constantly learning. We learn our trade, we learn to teach and engage in scholarship, and we continue to learn from and with our students, colleagues and patients throughout our careers.

Learning is at the heart of everything we do here at DFCM. Education is our core mandate, and our extensive educational work reflects a deep commitment to the future of our discipline. But learning is about more than education. Real learning requires us to listen, reflect and take action both in the formal classroom environment and in our communities.

Over the past week, I have had the pleasure of bringing greetings to some of the hundreds of eager Canadian and International Medical Graduates who are currently interviewing to potentially become DFCM family medicine residents with the support of our Residency Program team. I was also privileged to participate in one of our FRAT Core Days, in which a wide range of social justice and health equity talks were given by inspiring faculty from across our department. These interactions were a reminder to me of how much work goes into our education enterprise every single day. 

We are fortunate to have a network of passionate educators among our ranks. Every single faculty member who welcomes learners, from pre-clerkship to fellowship and graduate studies, into their clinic or classroom deserves our thanks and recognition for their hard work and commitment. I am also grateful to work closely with those who lead our education teams, our Education Program Directors, Drs. Abbas Ghavam-Rassoul, Allyson Merbaum, Azi Moaveni and Stu Murdoch, our Director of the Office of Education Scholarship, Mahan Kulasegaram and our Vice-Chair Education and Scholarship, Dr. Risa Freeman.

I have been reflecting on how to bring the spirit of learning and growth to all that we do in our department, not just our formal education programming. It is a focus on learning – from each other and the communities we serve and aspire to serve – that can renew our excitement and energy as we emerge (hopefully) from the pandemic and into the next phase of our shared journey. One big question we will ask ourselves is: how do we prepare family doctors for the future and prepare the future health system for them?

We already know that as a department we have shared values and a huge number of individual family medicine superstars. Now we must ask ourselves, how do we transcend our individual excellence to create a shared identity and a narrative that we can use to advance a shared agenda? It is not an easy task, but a journey of continuous learning that I hope you will join me on.