Medical education: concepts and practices


I have had another great trip to Memorial University, Newfoundland involved in teaching and education research. Phase 1 of the new MD curriculum was coming to an end while I was there so I participated in several evaluation meetings and student presentations. The concepts and practices of medical education in Phase 1 came under constructive scrutiny.




The experiences of early student engagement in communities across Newfoundland and Labrador have been very positive for learning about all seven of the CanMEDS roles in authentic contexts.




The integrated learning sessions every two to three weeks have had a problem- or case-based focus. The student-led discussions have been effective for examining all the determinants of health in mature dialogues between the students.




The content of the student-selected special projects showed enormous creativity and reflective thinking and the poster presentations were of a high standard. I declare my particular interest in the social accountability projects




Phase 2 started dynamically with active learning about normal ageing including issues about the determinants of health and about social accountability.




Naturally there have been some problems with the new MD curriculum but at Memorial there is an openness and honesty about discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the new curriculum. It is much more comfortable to be working in this culture and society than in more censorious, repressive environments.






There was also a Medical Education Scholarship Centre journal club meeting where I presented a paper on social accountability by Woollard and Boelen (Medical Education 2012: 46: 21–27). We identified the challenges involved in engaging faculty and students in the communities we serve in our CanMEDS roles.




The other main focus of my time was planning my contributions to the Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) which will be held in Ottawa next month. I have been liaising with Faculty of Medicine colleagues in the offices of admissions, undergraduate medical education, and postgraduate/continuing professional development in particular. My medical education practices will be on show.






Another positive event showing my medical education practices has been the publication of a paper about ovarian cancer symptom awareness inter alia. Medical education needs to have firm links to the real worlds of the public who might become patients. See:


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


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About Iain Robbe

I am a medical practitioner (MB, BS, 1980; MRCS, LRCP, 1980) registered with the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I have reactivated my licence to practise and I am providing telephone support to vulnerable elderly to assist them during the pandemic. I remain active as a Clinical Medical Educationist participating in a number of projects with the universities of St Mary’s and Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and Mount Allison in New Brunswick, inter alia, and separately with three of the veterinary schools in the UK. My focus is on teaching and research in professionalism, ethics, and communications, and particularly the influences of vernacular architecture on the creation of positive learning experiences in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. I have the degree of Master in Public Health from the University of London (1985) and the degree of Master in Medical Education with distinction from the University of Wales (2001). The guiding principles in my practices are based on andragogy and humanism, and the prime ethical principle of autonomy for the individual and in population health.

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