Dear colleagues,

I’d like to take this opportunity to share my usual midsummer update. I’m sure many of you are enjoying some well-deserved vacation, so I’ll keep this brief and highlight just a small selection of activities from the first half of the year.

If you’re interested in more detail or a lengthier account of our work, I hope you’ll visit our website. There you can find past issues of our newsletter and explore our website’s enhanced search capacity to hone in on topics of particular interest. You are also welcome to contact me at, if your request is of a more precise nature.

At the same time, I’d like to invite you to submit topic ideas. I’d be curious to know what themes you’re interested in hearing more (or less) about in these messages, as I work to develop this blog. If you have ideas or general feedback, please email me.

Finally, I’d like to thank our Royal College staff, management team and the thousands of volunteers and other collaborators for their efforts these past few months. They do an incredible amount of largely behind-the-scenes work bringing our vision and mission to life.

I hope you have an enjoyable and restful August.


Andrew Padmos, BA, MD, FRCPC, FACP
Chief Executive Officer



Quick links


Planning for competency-based continuing professional development

Our work and planning for Competence by Design (CBD) is steadily moving ahead. We will soon be field testing multiple components of this model, ahead of implementation for our first cohort of disciplines anticipated for July 2017. CBD will transform residency education. Perhaps more relatable for Fellows, we have recently opened discussions on how these changes will impact continuing professional development — the other part of the learning continuum.

This May, we hosted our second Invitational Summit on Competency-Based Continuing Professional Development. It comprised two days of meaningful discussion about how assessment of competence, performance and patient outcomes will support and enable a competency-based model for lifelong learning. Experts and scholars from all areas of health care were there, representing 70+ associations, regulatory bodies and universities.

  • The need to incorporate a patient focus into planning and assessment activities was repeatedly expressed. Patient insights were cited for their value in assessing physician skills related to communication, professionalism and advocacy.
  • Fellows who answered our poll ahead of the summit also expressed their conviction that scope of practice will be the best guide for the assessment of performance.
  • Finally, the need to consider and align a future assessment model with the work of inter-professional health teams was also discussed.

Other key considerations that came out of that meeting for the design of this model were shared in our July newsletter, along with a poll. As this project advances, there will be many more opportunities to provide feedback on what is important to you.

To stay on top of news about our Competence by Design initiative, please sign-up for our CBD Community Touchpoint newsletter. It comes out several times a year.



Advocating for the health of Indigenous Peoples

We’ve taken a giant step forward in our advocacy, most notably our support for the Indigenous Health Alliance and our work to make some material gains in the health of Indigenous Peoples. The alliance is a coalition of organizations formed to address gaps in health and care between Indigenous communities and the general population. Our Indigenous Health Advisory Committee is now leading our work to map out an Indigenous Health work plan to guide Royal College activities over the next several years relating to the integration of cultural safety education in postgraduate medical education and continuing professional development, and addressing the health-related recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.



Relating to the needs and concerns of our members: Medical assistance in dying

We’ve also done some important work in medical assistance in dying. Late on June 17, Bill C14 received royal assent and is now law. We will continue to support our Fellows, including through the creation of two new bioethics courses (one on conscientious objection) as well as a workshop for residents. We will also advise Fellows on the legislative framework and continue to collaborate with other national organizations, like the CMA, to ensure all Fellows have the information they need related to this topic. As I stated in an earlier CEO Message, we also stand behind calls for more resources for palliative care so that patients have equitable access to a range of end-of-life care options. I anticipate that our new subspecialty in Palliative Medicine will also eventually open up more opportunities to develop research and academic leadership in palliative care in Canada.



Helping to strengthen international training programs

We’ve turned a corner in terms of our Collaboration Services Agreements with partners in the Gulf, Latin America and China. These agreements help to strengthen their training programs, underlying our vision of the best health for all, the best care for all. By helping to improve educational standards, training programs produce physicians who are better equipped for practice and patients benefit from higher quality care.

  1. The Royal College signed a collaboration service agreement with Kazan State Medical University in late January. This agreement establishes an academic partnership to help support their medical education. In May, we completed a program consultation and institutional review, and presented a workshop.
  2. With our assistance, the Supreme Council of Health, our partner in Qatar for the past two years, launched its new National Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Professional Development (CME/CPD) program in March. This is a landmark in professionalizing CME/CPD in the country. 
  3. We announced our first internationally-accredited simulation program: The Clinical Skills & Simulation Center at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  4. We co-hosted the third China Conference on Residency Education in collaboration with the Peking University First Hospital and Chinese Medical Doctors Association. In last month’s message, I shared with you more details of our work in that country.
  5. We are also in the final stages of preparing to begin our work this November with the Kuwait Institute for Medical Specialization.



International collaboration assistance: Our work in Nepal and Haiti

We haven’t forgotten the important commitment to the welfare of populations in less developed countries. This newly-organized aspect of our international outreach has focused so far on activities in Haiti, Nepal, Senegal and the Sudan.

This year,

  • we formalized an educational partnership with the Nepali Ministry of Education by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the recently-created Health Professions Education Commission. This agreement formalizes our support for the development of a national model for postgraduate medical education in the country, and other supports for educational reform.
  • we have also continued our work in Haiti, including a development trip to the Université Quisqueya last month. We are working with Fellows to provide faculty development and continuing professional development support. I anticipate sharing a full update on this work in the early fall.



Recognizing achievements: National award winners and Honorary Fellows

We announced our national award winners and honorary Fellows for 2016. I encourage you to read more about their achievements (for example, my March 2016 blog post) and, in the case of Dr. Orbinski and Dr. Caron, to watch the videos embedded below. Those videos provide a deeper overview of their impact.

National award winners

  • Royal College Teasdale Corti Humanitarian Award: Dr. James Orbinski, MD, OC, OOnt, MCFP, a family physician who received Canada’s highest civilian honour for his efforts in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.
  • James H. Graham Award of Merit: Dr. Allan S. MacDonald, MD, FRCSC, a general surgeon credited with bringing transplantation surgery to Atlantic Canada and laparoscopic surgery to Nova Scotia.
  • Duncan Graham Award: Dr. Paul K.B. Dagg, MD, FRCPC, a psychiatrist who led the development of a competency-based assessment process for psychiatrists trained outside of Canada.
  • Royal College AMS/Donald Richards Wilson Award: Dr. Najma A. Ahmed, MDCM, PhD, FRCSC, FACS, a general surgeon and program director from Toronto who elevated her program with a series of novel innovations.
  • Royal College Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award: Dr. Nadine Caron, MPH, FRCSC, Canada’s first female First Nations general surgeon and the co-creator of UBC’s Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health.

Welcoming four new Honorary Fellows

  • Dr. Thomas A. Dignan, O.Ont., MD, BScN, a Seneca from Six Nations Territory of the Grand River and medical officer for Health Canada. Tom is a passionate, tireless advocate for Indigenous rights and wellbeing, including health status and outcomes.
  • Dr. Yucun Liu, MD, president of the Peking University First Hospital in Beijing, China. Dr. Liu has not only championed improvements in patient care at his hospital, he has also introduced improved curriculum, educational standards and processes.
  • Brigadier-General H.C. MacKay, OMM, CD, QHP, MD, head of the Royal Canadian Medical Service and surgeon general, commander of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group, has a wealth of experience both at home and abroad.
  • Professor Sir Nicholas Wright, MBBS, MD, PhD, DSc, lead for the Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University of London, UK. Sir Nicholas is one of his country’s most distinguished physicians who has been at the lead of cancer and stem cell research, and was knighted for his services to medicine.



Other notable achievements

  • Dr. Françoise P. Chagnon, FRCSC, officially began her appointment as Royal College President-Elect this February. Dr. Chagnon is an otolaryngologist and voice specialist in Montreal, as well as a longtime member of Council.
  • We debuted “MOC Tip of the Month,” a new feature in Dialogue, to positive reviews. It provides practical tips written by Fellows.
  • We launched our refreshed website in mid-May. It’s more modern and user-friendly. The search function has been dramatically improved. The new design is also responsive, and mobile- and tablet-friendly.
  • We released our Clinician Scientists in Canada: Supporting Innovations in Patient Care Through Research white paper, following months of consultation with Fellows, faculties of medicine, clinicians and partner organizations.
  • We continue to engage through our social media channels. We surpassed 5000 likes on our Royal College English-language Facebook page and over 10,000 followers on our English Twitter page. Engaging with these channels is a great way to stay on top of Royal College and member news, as well as some general interest content related to medicine, medical education and Canadian health care.



Spring 2016 exams: Some numbers

Our Royal College certification exams are a considerable part of our business. Each year, our staff works hard with volunteers to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Did you know?

2380 candidates participated in the spring 2016 exams

The exams were supported by

  • 950 volunteers,
  • 478 standardized patients,  and
  • 120 Royal College staff members.

Our hospitality team

  • served 5400 meals,
  • brewed 328 pounds of ground coffee, and
  • gave out 22,000+ bottles of water/juice/soda.

My sincere thanks to all for their efforts