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NewsIntroducing the Exam Oversight Committee

Introducing the Exam Oversight Committee

September 23, 2021

At the last Medical Council of Canada (MCC) Annual Meeting, a decision was made to transition from our previous governance structure to a smaller, skills-based Council composed of up to 12 individuals. This change facilitates a robust and effective governance structure supporting the MCC as it continues to meet its vision, mission and strategic goals, and improve its operations. The MCC also reaffirmed its intent to foster stakeholder engagement and relationships and ensure a high level of care for patients in Canada.

As part of this evolution, following the Annual Meeting, a review of the exam oversight and test committee structure began, including the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I test committees (Clinical Decision-Making, Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Population Health, Ethical, Legal and Organizational Aspects of Medicine (PHELO), Psychiatry, Surgery) as well as the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) committees (NAC International Medical Graduate (IMG) Alliance, NAC Practice-Ready Assessment (PRA) Working Group). These committees, comprised of external experts and responsible for developing relevant, standardized, independent, high quality, assessment tools and strategies, are in place to support the MCC in its mission. In part, the committee members who are physicians and other professionals, ensure that the MCC examinations are assessing the current competencies required to maintain the highest level of medical care in Canada.

On July 27, 2021, an extremely qualified and enthusiastic group came together virtually for the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Exam Oversight Committee (EOC). Led by Dr. Teresa Cavett, Chair, the EOC is an oversight body that replaces the previous Central Examination Committee (CEC) and NAC Examination Committee (NEC) and brings a standardized approach to all the MCC exams.

The EOC reports to, but functions independently from, the MCC’s Council. Officially launching this September with meetings occurring at least once every quarter, the purpose of the EOC is to ensure that the examinations offered by the MCC are:

  • Relevant and appropriate to assess the attributes expected of medical graduates entering residency and independent practice in Canada; and
  • Administered through validated, standardized and reliable processes and formats in relation to the intended interpretations and uses of exam results.

More specifically, the EOC is tasked with approving new exam content/objectives; ensuring exam integrity; managing incidents, procedural irregularities and/or irregular behaviour by one or more candidate; exam result recheck; reconsidering exam results; and ratifying examination results.

The Chair and six members of the EOC were carefully selected by the Exam Oversight Committee Review Panel based on prior experience, engagement with committee work, collaboration, and ability to contribute diverse perspectives, new ideas and creative solutions. We are pleased to introduce them below.

Teresa Cavett, BSc MD, CCFP FCFP, MEd

Dr. Cavett has practised family medicine since her graduation from the University of Manitoba in 1984. Her clinical practice has included full-service family medicine, in-hospital care, obstetrical care and emergency medicine. In 2001, she joined the Department of Family Medicine, University of Manitoba, where she teaches medical students and family medicine residents and has held many administrative and educational roles. She provides faculty development for teachers both in Canada and abroad. Her academic interests include assessment and feedback, clinical reasoning, the influence of the hidden curriculum in medical education and the lived experiences of internationally educated physicians transitioning into Canadian residency programs. She joined the Medical Council of Canada in 2012 as a member of the MCCQE Part I Pediatric Test Committee, followed by Vice-Chair in 2017. In 2018, she joined the Central Examination Committee (CEC) as Vice-Chair, then became Chair in January 2021. With the transition to the new governance model, Dr. Cavett accepted the role of Chair of the Examination Oversight Committee (EOC) in September 2021.

Michel Chiasson, BSc (Hons), MD, FCFP

Dr. Chiasson finished medical school at Dalhousie in 2000, and then as Chief Resident, completed his Family Residency through McGill University in 2002. He then returned home to Nova Scotia where he works as a rural family physician at Sacred Heart Hospital, in Cheticamp, on Western Cape Breton. An active member of Doctors NS’s GP Council, Dr. Chiasson also helps foster relations between primary care physicians and the Nova Scotia Health Authority as a Network Lead. He has been involved with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (CPSNS) to help with peer review and assessment for many years. As a former Chief Examiner for CPSNS’s Clinician Assessment for Practice Program (CAPP), and currently involved with the Practice Ready Assessment Program (PRAP), he helps internationally trained doctors navigate the path to practise in Nova Scotia. He has enjoyed working within the Medical Council of Canada since 2009, first as a member and then as Chair of the MCCQE Part I Clinical Decision-Making (CDM) Committee.

Isabelle Desjardins, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Desjardins completed her medical degree at the University of Ottawa in 2007. She now practises general internal medicine at The Ottawa Hospital-General Campus. Currently the Chair of the MCCQE Part I Medicine Test Committee and previously Vice-Chair of the Central Examination Committee (CEC), she has been a test committee member for numerous years.

Michael Hogan, BMedSc, MD, MMed, FRCSC, FACS

Dr. Hogan is a surgeon specializing in Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgical Oncology. He completed his Doctor of Medicine at Memorial University graduating in the year 2000. His postgraduate training included a General Surgery Residency at Memorial University followed by a Fellowship in Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgical Oncology at the University of Toronto from 2006 to 2008. Since 2008, he has worked as a Staff Surgeon with Eastern Health in Newfoundland and has a busy Surgical Oncology practice consisting almost exclusively of advanced Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Oncology cases. In addition to this, he holds the rank of Associate Professor of Surgery at Memorial University with a cross appointment to the Discipline of Oncology. Academically, he has received his Master in Medical Education from the University of Aberdeen and has done extensive research in Surgical Education. He is currently the Program Director for Surgical Foundations at Memorial University and holds committee positions nationally with both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as the Medical Council of Canada.

Julie Okapuu, MDCM, FRCPC

Dr. Okapuu completed her medical degree at McGill University. She is currently an Infectious Disease specialist and Medical Microbiologist at Pierre Boucher Hospital in Longueuil, Quebec. She enjoys her role as a part-time faculty lecturer at McGill as well as her involvement in their Medical Undergraduate Teaching Program. Dr. Okapuu is also co-president of the Continuing Medical Education Committee of the Association of Medical Microbiologists and Infectious Disease physicians of Quebec. She has been working with the MCC for several years as a chief examiner for the NAC and the MCCQE Part II exams at the Montreal site, as a content writer, and as a member of the NEC.

Jean Rawling, BSc, PhD, MD, CCFP

Dr. Rawling is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Residency Program Curriculum at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine. She has been a member of NAC test committees for several years and was Chair of the NAC Examination Committee (NEC) since 2019.

Debra Sibbald, BScPhm ACPR, RPh, MA, PhD

Dr. Sibbald is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and Academic Lead, Admissions PharmD (AL-APP) at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto; and a Consultant in Education and Competence Assessment/Evaluation. She has extensive experience and expertise in medical education. She holds a PhD in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning; a Master in Adult Education (Assessment); a Certificate in Educating Health Professionals for Inter-professional Care (EHPIC) UT; and a Certificate as an International Expert for Designing, Assessing and Implementing Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs).

We look forward to their valuable contribution.