An interview with Dr. Claire Touchie | Medical Council of Canada
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NewsAn interview with Dr. Claire Touchie

An interview with Dr. Claire Touchie

September 28, 2021

After 25 years with the Medical Council of Canada (MCC), Dr. Claire Touchie will be retiring from her most recent position as Chief Medical Education Officer on September 30, 2021. The MCC team is grateful for all her contributions to our organization and to medical assessment in Canada and internationally.

We asked Dr. Touchie five questions to gain insights into her career with the organization from her perspective and her motivation for staying connected to the MCC after retirement.

1. What brought you to the MCC?

From very early on in my career, I gravitated to the MCC because I was always passionate about assessment and how assessment drives learning. The MCC was, to me, the premier assessment organization in Canada.

My first MCC “job” was as an examiner for the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II, in 1996. Sometime later, in 1998, I became a member of the Medicine Test Committee, while working at Dalhousie University as a General Internist and Infectious Diseases specialist. When I moved to Ottawa in 2000, Dr. W. Dale Dauphinee, the MCC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the time, asked me to be a content expert consultant to the Evaluation Bureau team. In 2003, I was appointed Vice-Chair of the Central Examination Committee (CEC) where I oversaw the content development for the qualifying exams and chaired the Evaluating Examination Committee. When I decided to step down as Vice-Chair at the end of 2011, Dr. Ian Bowmer sought to add a second physician on staff and that is how I came to eventually take on the role of Chief Medical Education Officer. So, in short, I have touched all aspects of assessment during my time at the MCC.

2. What accomplishments, as Chief Medical Education Officer, are you most proud of and why?

Above all, I am proud to have worked with such dedicated and competent colleagues, collaborators, and teammates. All those I have worked with share the same passion of ensuring a high level of care through assessments.

Likely the highlight of my career at the MCC was the introduction of the new MCC Blueprint in 2018. Its development was a huge achievement and a collaborative effort, both internally with various departments and externally with 13 groups of stakeholders. The Blueprint reflects what physicians “do” (for the most part) regardless of specialty and describes what clinicians and stakeholders expect from candidates. This was a very exciting change for the way we put exams together.

Another accomplishment I am very proud of is the development and operationalization of the MCC 360, a Canadian multi-source feedback program offered nationally that evaluates physicians’ workplace performance in their roles as communicator, collaborator, and professional. This project was an immense undertaking which again required both internal and external stakeholder involvement. The results of studies show that the MCC 360 is changing physicians’ approaches to quality improvement and providing them with both positive and constructive feedback.

Finally, I am very grateful that Dr. Ian Bowmer “lent” me to the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) to co-chair the development of the Entrustable Professional Activities for the transition from medical school to residency. These three projects are influencing the training of physicians nationally and will have shaped much of my career.

3. How is your role with the MCC changing? 

I will now work alongside the CEO as a part-time advisor. In this capacity, I will work with Dr. Topps on specific strategic initiatives, putting to good use my 25 years of experience with the MCC and helping the organization move upwards and onwards from a challenging past couple of years.

4. Why is it important for you to stay connected to the MCC after retirement? 

It will be very rewarding to see the MCC grow again as the organization enters a new phase of innovation. I wish to support the newly appointed Council members and the leadership team with the implementation of the Assessment Innovation Task Force (AITF) recommendations.

5. What other work/projects will you be involved in? 

I will continue my clinical work at the Ottawa Hospital as a specialist in HIV care. I love that aspect of my work as it reminds me weekly why I came into medicine and why I am passionate about improving physician assessment and routes to licensure. I have also taken on another advisory role, on the Senior Medical Advisory Committee, for the project on the development of a new school of medicine in Canada – the School of Medicine at Ryerson University. My various roles as an educator, but also as a clinician, are helping to inform this process. Finally, I will dedicate some time to teaching internationally and to looking after myself and my family.