NAC PRA enters a new phase | Medical Council of Canada
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NewsNAC PRA enters a new phase

NAC PRA enters a new phase

February 21, 2018
Meet the NAC PRA team

As Canadians counted down to the first moments of 2018, the project phase for the NAC PRA was coming to an end and the operational phase was beginning.

“There’s been a lot of work and collaboration to get to this point,” reflected Dr. Jon Witt, Medical Director of the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment program and Chair of the NAC PRA Committee. “There was a psychological change when we realized this is now an established process, and it’s moving forward.”

The project phase involved developing:

  • relationships among the existing provincial practice-ready assessment (PRA) programs and other stakeholder organizations, such as the medical regulatory authorities
  • tools for candidate orientation, assessor training and program evaluation
  • selection examinations to ensure candidates were ready for over-time assessment

With the operational phase, “we are now setting up the internal structures required. We need to shift to different tools needed across the program,” explained Alexa Fotheringham, Manager for the NAC PRA program. “There will always be some new issue to tackle or areas to develop — it won’t be steady state ever.”

There are some familiar faces and some new ones as NAC PRA becomes a full-fledged program.

Dr. Jon Witt, Chair of the NAC PRA Committee: This Committee is responsible for many aspects of the program, including standards, orientation curriculum, over-time assessment, and clinical assessor training. Its members represent the provincial PRA programs involved, and representation from certification colleges, the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada, the MCC, the Therapeutics Decision-Making Test Committee, and the National Assessment Central Coordinating Committee (NAC3), to which it reports.

Dr. Julian Midgley, Chair of the Therapeutics Decision-Making (TDM) Test Committee: A pediatric nephrologist in Alberta, Dr. Midgley brings experience from a previous test Committee to his role. The Committee develops this key exam to assess candidates for selection to PRA programs. Committee members are mainly in family medicine, as well as from emergency medicine and pharmacology. “Probably the biggest challenge is getting a bunch of exam questions in the bank,” said Dr. Midgley. Provinces with their own TDM tests had donated questions to start filling this bank. This Committee reports to the NAC PRA Committee.

Cindy Streefkerk, Chief Strategic Development Officer: Ms. Streefkerk is responsible for carrying out the program’s direction and for internal collaboration at MCC. She said that for MCC, “one of the benefits is to bring the PRA programs together in a community of interest. It has that community feel, and it’s been very positive.”

Alexa Fotheringham, Manager: Ms. Fotheringham oversees daily operations and the transition to operational status. She manages the team and relationships with stakeholders. She said NAC PRA is critical to MCC: “We demonstrated we could collaborate, we could bring together the subject matter expertise we needed.”

Sandra Roberts, Program Analyst: Ms. Roberts ensures that all of the program’s actions and processes are on track. She is also responsible for research such as environmental scans into what other organizations are doing in areas relevant to NAC PRA (orientation, training, etc.).

NAC PRA team photo
Left to right: Ms. Lisa McGrath, Ms. Alexa Fotheringham, Ms. Cindy Streefkerk, Ms. Edwine Job, Dr. Marguerite Roy, Dr. Fang Tian, Mrs. Sandra Roberts

Rebecca Morel, Program Coordinator: Ms. Morel is responsible for coordination of internal events and external stakeholders.

Dr. Marguerite Roy, Medical Education Researcher: Dr. Roy will carry out psychometric research on the program. Some of her research questions will need at least 10 years of data to answer. “Is the program producing physicians that are comparable to physicians who come through other routes?” As well, she will conduct surveys of candidates and assessors to evaluate the program annually.

Dr. Fang Tian, Senior Research Psychometrician: Ms. Tian said she provides “psychometric services to ensure the tools MCC develops or uses are valid and reliable and that assessment strategies are based on best practice in the profession.”

Edwine Job, Test Development Officer for the TDM examination: Ms. Job said her role is “creating content and coordinating activities that will result in the final product.”

Anne Spratt, Production Coordinator: Ms. Spratt will also help support the TDM examination.

Lisa McGrath, Team Leader, Communications: Ms. McGrath has been the lead on the development and implementation of the Communication and Cultural Competence orientation program, which gives PRA candidates an overview of the communication and cultural competencies required for practising medicine in Canada.

NAC PRA team photo above:
Left to right: Ms. Lisa McGrath, Ms. Alexa Fotheringham, Ms. Cindy Streefkerk, Ms. Edwine Job, Dr. Marguerite Roy, Dr. Fang Tian, Mrs. Sandra Roberts
Absent: Dr. Jon Witt, Dr. Julian Midgley, Ms. Rebecca Morel, Ms. Anne Spratt