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Transformation through partnership

September 25, 2018

The MCC is a unique leader in medicine today but can’t go it alone

When Dr. Jay Rosenfield talks about what is happening in medical education and assessment of learners today, he repeats two words: “transformation” and “partnership.” As he takes the helm as Medical Council of Canada (MCC)’s President, a theme of his presidency will be working in collaboration with others to develop the best frameworks for assessment of physicians. He says MCC’s Council is unique in having universities, regulatory authorities, medical students and residents as well as the public at the table. But it also needs to reach out to other Canadian medical education organizations such as the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and comparable organizations in health professions education and assessment, both nationally and internationally.

He is concerned that there are “too many silos around medical education in Canada. We don’t really have an integrated partnership for assessment and competency maintenance.”

Partnerships among professionals are also critical, he adds, as medicine too often operates in a silo. And, among the partnerships he mentioned, he is looking forward to collaborating with incoming Executive Director Dr. Maureen Topps.

Taking the broad view

Dr. Rosenfield reveals he is passionate about helping to develop integrated systems. From the moment he opened his developmental paediatrics practice and saw waiting lists of up to two years, he realized the importance of integrating individual physician-based patient care, with community services for families and children.

A master’s degree in education helped him integrate medicine and education, as Vice-Dean of the MD Program at the University of Toronto and, since 2017, as Vice-Dean of Medical Education at Western University, a faculty interested in systems-level interventions. He was involved with two projects under the Future of Medical Education in Canada banner, co-leading the MD project, and developing effective integration across the medical education continuum into residency and practice in the postgraduate project.

Dr. Rosenfield has been an involved member of the MCC since 2004, sitting on committees on appeals, legislation and research and development. He was most recently MCC’s Vice-President. He also has experience in the regulatory environment, having been a member of the CPSO Registration Committee, and being a peer assessor.

This background has given Dr. Rosenfield a bird’s-eye view of medical education and practice. He believes physician competencies should be developed, assessed and maintained “across the continuum of medical education and into practice.”

Dr. Rosenfield eschews fixed views, preferring to pose probing questions about MCC’s role and the future of physician assessment. “What are generic competencies that all physicians need and how should they be assessed? ”, is one of the questions on which the MCC’s newly appointed President is focusing. He asks whether there are other competencies, specific to specialties, that also need to be assessed in partnership with other organizations.

In an era of “big data,” MCC’s data could help point towards new directions. Dr. Rosenfield is interested in MCC’s efforts to analyze exam data to determine whether exams are predictive of physician competence in practice, and whether early intervention could prevent future complaints about physicians. He mentions MCC might consider using its data to provide more detailed feedback to learners.

Work-life integration

“My family and my children are equally important as my profession in my life,” Dr. Rosenfield says. Now grown, all of Dr. Rosenfield’s children are professionals, and one is carrying on the tradition of paediatrics for a fourth generation. Dr. Rosenfield recently became a grandfather twice over.

Music is a family passion, with Dr. Rosenfield playing piano and his wife, the oboe. One of his sons recently accompanied him on a trip called “Bach by Bike,” visiting the sites of Bach’s life in Germany and listening to performances of the composer’s music. “That was a highlight of my life,” mentions Dr. Rosenfield.