Abstract banner

2020-2021 Medical Education Annual Report

Message from the Vice Dean of Medical Education

Dr. Patricia Houston

Welcome to the 2020-2021 annual report for the Office of the Vice Dean, Medical Education. This series of reports highlights selected achievements in and across the MD Program, Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Pandemic pivots

As articulated in the MD, PGME and CPD reports – as well as throughout the Dean’s Report 2021 – we cannot overlook how our collaborative efforts enabled the delivery of programming and services in the face of COVID-19. We quickly pivoted from in-person to online learning activities. We developed clinical skills sessions to help ensure the safety of both our learners and the patients they serve. We facilitated the redeployment of our trainees across our 30+ hospital partners. We provided our teachers with faculty development opportunities to help ensure that our learners continue to have the best possible education experience. In short, our collective responses to the global pandemic are evidence of both the need for, and success of, efforts to support opportunities for alignment and integration across the continuum of medical education. I am confident that we will continue to act on our pandemic learnings, but hopefully with a kinder, more predictable teacher.

Accreditation success

Over this past academic year, our undergraduate and postgraduate medical education programs faced a very predictable event: accreditation. But even that came with its own pandemic-related challenges, including virtual site visits for the MD Program, 79 of our postgraduate training programs and our PGME Office. Despite the change in format, and thanks to the commitment and involvement of over 3,500 education leaders, faculty, health care professionals, administrative staff and learners, our accreditation efforts proved successful. The MD Program and 58 postgraduate training programs were accredited for another full eight-year term, with the PGME Office and remaining 21 residency programs accredited with a follow-up report or site visit required in three years. 

The MD and PGME accreditation findings pointed to three areas for improvement common across the continuum of medical education. These include:

  • Enhancing our learner assessment systems to ensure they are aligned with progressive, competency-based learning objectives and supported by well-defined and transparent policies and processes;
  • Ensuring our teachers are provided with timely feedback about their performance, including supportive evaluative processes and faculty development opportunities, and;
  • Articulating pathways and processes to address learner mistreatment that are consistently implemented and operationalized across programs and sites.

Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our education leaders, faculty, staff and learners, our efforts to address the MD and PGME accreditation findings started before the results of the accreditation process were known. The implementation of competency-based medical education in our residency programs is well underway and the MD Program has taken important first steps towards the implementation of workplace-based assessments. A new Learner Assessment of Clinical Teachers (LACT) tool has been introduced, which will enable undergraduate and postgraduate learners to provide feedback to our clinical teachers. Use of that LACT feedback will be complemented by guidelinesthat articulate a process to support our teachers to improve their teaching competencies.

We updated our MD and PGME learner mistreatment guidelines and webpages, and our hospital, department and program partners are committed to working together to ensure process transparency, procedural consistency and due process for all involved.

Equity and beyond

Although we have accomplished much over the past academic year, we are committed to continuing to make improvements, both big and small. This includes continuing to act on our shared commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Indigeneity and Accessibility in all we do, which is the only way to ensure that we truly all belong. For the Vice Dean, Medical Education portfolio, this will include establishing governance structures and processes that are collegial and inclusive.

I would like to thank all members of the medical education community for showing me what is possible, and demonstrating over and over again that by working together we can support all of our learners, faculty and staff to achieve the kind of success that makes the University of Toronto a progressive leader in medical education.

Professor Patricia Houston
Acting Dean | Vice Dean, Medical Education | Interim Associate Dean, PGME
Temerty Faculty of Medicine

2020 - 2021 Updates


Thank you to the Medical Education Annual Report Steering Committee and all those who contributed to the content and design of this year’s report – Caroline Abrahams, Diego Altamira Olvera, Andrea Barkley, Victorina Baxan, Mark Bennett, Stacey Bernstein, Roberta Brown, Susan Glover Takahashi, Patricia Houston, Erin Howe, Melissa Hynes, Gina John, Christopher Jones, Renice Jones, Bochra Kurabi, Marcus Law, Hana Lee, Anne McLeod, Maureen Morris, James Owen, Morag Paton, Linda Probyn, Linda Quattrin, Suzan Schneeweiss, Shibu Thomas, Paul Tonin, Jennifer Toulmin

And thank you to all members of the medical education community who contribute to the continued success of the MD Program, PGME and CPD, both as individual programs and as partners in the continuum of medical education.