Above: Talking with Dr. Tom Dignan and Ms. Danielle Fréchette (Executive Director, Health Systems Innovation and External Relations) at the February 2017 Council meeting in Ottawa.

Dear colleague,

We’re halfway through 2017. What are your highlights so far?

Each summer, I like to provide a midsummer update – a way to draw attention to some Royal College achievements from the first half of the year.

I know it is prime vacation season, so I’ll keep it brief.

Quick links

Please keep in mind that these updates are a mere simplification and partial list of the volume and variety of work being done. To keep it manageable, I’ve focused on outcomes. There are innumerable efforts underway – be they ongoing work around exams and accreditation, various branches of our CBD project, partnerships and health policy work, not to mention other planning and staged operations.

I’d like to thank our Royal College staff, management team, volunteers and other collaborators who make all this work possible — and of the high caliber we know and expect.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week.


Andrew Padmos, BA, MD, FRCPC, FACP

Chief Executive Officer

Competence by Design (CBD) implementation launches

I won’t go into too much detail, since this was the focus of my message on June 28. I will just say that this is a superb achievement shared by the whole postgraduate medical education community in Canada. And the journey continues. The CBD team is now supporting 21 disciplines actively working on their CBD transformation. Eight more disciplines will start their CBD journey in the fall of 2017. We are continuing to collaborate, to listen and to improve our processes as we go. I look forward to keeping you informed of our progress. In the meantime, you can visit www.royalcollege.ca/cbd or email cbd@royalcollege.ca with questions.


Presidential changeover

In February, Dr. Françoise P. Chagnon, FRCSC, officially began her appointment as Royal College President. Dr. Chagnon is an otolaryngologist and voice specialist in Montreal, as well as a longtime member of Council. She is the second woman and first woman-surgeon to hold this position. She took over as President from Dr. Kevin Imrie, FRCPC, who served in this capacity since 2015.


Our response to Canada’s opioid crisis

We’re responding to Canada’s opioid crisis. We believe that prevention starts by educating Fellows on safe prescribing practices, which informs patient education:

  • We developed a Royal College statement of principles on safe opioid prescribing.*
  • We created an online catalogue of resources on safe opioid prescribing.*
  • We are also piloting a tool to assess the prescribing competencies of physicians-in-practice (collaborating with, and learning from, the British Pharmacological Society).
  • We remain a member organization of the Pan-Canadian Collaborative on Education for Improved Opioid Prescribing (led by the College of Family Physicians of Canada).

*Next Wednesday, I will be sending a message on opioids and linking directly to this statement and online resources. Please keep an eye out for it.


Award winners

We announced our national award winners for 2017.

From left to right: Dr. Robert Fowler, Dr. Robin McLeod, Dr. Karen Saperson


  • Royal College Teasdale Corti Humanitarian Award: An intensivist who worked at the forefront of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, Dr. Robert Fowler introduced new care procedures to great success and later co-authored landmark publications.
  • Duncan Graham Award: A surgeon and quality improvement advocate, with a unique specialization in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics, Dr. Robin McLeod helped nudge the culture of surgical practice to be more evidence-based.
  • Royal College AMS/Donald Richards Wilson Award: A psychiatrist specializing in geriatrics, Dr. Karen Saperson’s novel teaching methodologies raised the quality and quantity of research coming out of her university department.
  • Royal College Dr. Thomas Dignan Indigenous Health Award: Dr. Lisa Richardson and Dr. Jason Pennington are increasing Indigenous student admissions, strengthening curriculum in Indigenous health, and nurturing a vibrant cohort of Indigenous physicians at the University of Toronto.


From left to right: Dr. Jason Pennington, Dr. Lisa Richardson


We also distributed our history of medicine essay prize, travelling fellowships to profs from the UK and Montreal, research grants to 5 women leading cutting-edge research on CBME and fellowships for studies in medical education to three Fellows.


CanMEDS Consortium

Earlier this year, we announced the launch of the CanMEDS Consortium – a united group of12 Canadian health care organizations that will promote one, cross-Canada approach to physician training and evaluation through a common set of values and competencies (i.e. the CanMEDS Framework). The consortium will also facilitate the adoption of CanMEDS across the continuum of medical education and practice. The consortium is now looking closely at processes and timelines for formally implementing CanMEDS within undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD curricula.


Spring exams: some numbers

Our Royal College exams are a considerable part of our business. Each year, our staff works hard with volunteers to ensure everything runs smoothly. This year, a remarkable feat: all Internal Medicine candidates were hosted in one week, instead of three.

Some other numbers

2854 candidates participated in the spring 2017 exams

The exams were supported by

  • 1020 volunteers,
  • 548 standardized patients, and
  • 120 Royal College staff members.

Our hospitality team

  • served 9407 meals,
  • brewed 250 pounds of ground coffee, and
  • gave out 18,000+ bottles of water/juice/soda.

My thanks to everyone involved for their extraordinary efforts.


International efforts

International activities are an area of developing interest and value. We have a number of educational partnerships that are continuing to bear fruit in 2017:


Strategic planning

The one exception to my stated focus on “outcomes” is our strategic planning work. I mention it here because it is laying the foundation for the years ahead. Our current strategic plan ends March 31, 2018. We have been working to define the Royal College’s next strategy. All told, this planning will span 12 to 16 months. Our approach was launched at a Council meeting earlier this year with break-out sessions to reflect on the vision, mission, values and statement of purpose of the Royal College. Fellows and other partners will have an opportunity to provide input and feedback beginning in August.


Feel free to share your highlights from 2017 (so far) in the comments.