Canadian Conference on Medical Education, Vancouver


This conference had about 1,700 participants and in recent years it has increased its credibility as a meeting place to discuss all aspects of medical education.

On the positive side it was productive to discuss the use of the arts, humanities, and social sciences in medical education at the Creating Space symposium. See:

Also, my colleague, Catherine Nicholson, MD Class of 2017, gave a confident, clear and concise presentation of her poster regarding learning about social accountability by medical students. See:

The convenor of the poster session, Dr Marcel D’Eon from Saskatchewan, praised both the poster and the oral presentation which was very encouraging.


On the negative side it was disappointing not to have more interest in a pre-conference workshop on social accountability. See:

The workshop proposal had been peer reviewed but it had to be withdrawn due to less than ten registrants one month before the conference. Many people say fine words about their commitment to the principles and practices of social accountability especially when there are awards or prizes involved but they do not deliver on their fine words as evidenced by the few registrations for this workshop.

I did though have a constructive meeting with colleagues from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine who are justifiably recognised as the leaders in social accountability of medical schools. We hope to offer something appropriate for the Canadian Conference on Medical Education in 2016 which has the theme of “Accountability: from Self to Society”. The irony of this theme for 2016 after the experiences in 2015 is not lost on me.

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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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