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Site Specific Variations in Academic Program Design

Academic Half Day

The Academic Half-Day Program is a longitudinal two-year curriculum occurring during your full-time Family Medicine blocks.  The focus is on the 99 priority topics for Family Medicine as defined by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Mental Health and Behavioural Science (MHBS)

Rather than a two-block rotation in Psychiatry, the important concepts and skills are acquired through the core MHBS program.  One half-day each week throughout the two-year program, residents meet in tutorial groups with their home-base peers facilitated by a family physician, a psychiatrist and a social worker.  These tutorials are orientated to mental health, behavioural and psychosocial issues in family practice and the case material is brought by residents from their clinical experiences.

The common goals are:

  • Developing skills in patient-centered clinical methods
  • Acquiring and understand the importance of self-awareness in problem solving
  • Recognizing major behavioural and emotional problems in individuals and families
  • Recognizing the behavioural components of all health issues
  • Acquiring knowledge in major psychiatric illnesses
  • Acquiring an appropriate level of knowledge of psychotropic medications

Evidence-Based Medicine

There is a strong emphasis on evidence-based medicine (EBM) and the development of critical appraisal skills and all residents will participate in EBM tutorials as part of their Academic Half-Day program.  These activities provide residents with skills they will need when in practice to continue learning and developing as effective practitioners.  These activities also ensure residents can effectively utilize medical research in their clinical work.

Quality Improvement

All residents must complete a Quality Improvement (QI) project as a program requirement combining hands-on learning about effective practice assessment and basic research skills. Each program site has a QI tutor to support and facilitate project completion.  Each QI project culminates in a site presentation at the end of their two-year program.  Each site will put forward a project to be presented at the Department’s annual Research Day.  Prizes are awarded for the best project presentation and best poster.

For residents interested developing additional research skills, the program has a mentorship process serving all sites.  Horizontal and block elective time may be used to pursue research interests.  Interested residents will identify themselves to the Resident Research Coordinator who will assist with individual, customized planning for:

  • Identification of a primary research mentor
  • Methodological and statistical support
  • Education planning regarding research methodology, epidemiology and biostatistics, qualitative methods, program evaluation, etc.
  • Identification of current funding opportunities
  • Individual or group discussions of residents’ projects
  • Project supervisor support

Academic Block

There is one block in the thirteen-block calendar that expands over mid-December to mid-January also known as Block 7.  This block will focus on central academic programming including comprehensive practice management training and a wide variety of ‘hands on’ procedural skills training sessions.  Residents will also participate in site-specific programming and Family Medicine clinic work during the block.  Residents will also have a one-week vacation period during this time.

McMaster University Department of Family MedicineMichael G. DeGroote School of Medicine