Dr. Parsons’ says this award means a great deal to her because it’s associated with medical education. While she has been involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching for many years, as well as, past program director and interim chair of Family Medicine, Dr. Parsons feels her greatest contribution has been in her role as assistant dean for Admissions at Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine.
The admissions process at Memorial includes, not just the cognitive skills required of physicians but key values and personal characteristics such as communication, interpersonal and collaborative skills, and a range of professional interests; something Dr. Parsons is very proud of. “We have been very innovative with the introduction of TaMMI (Traditional and Multiple Mini-interview) process. Many medical schools in Canada replaced the panel interview with the MMI developed by McMaster University. However concerns have been raised by research that showed that students from rural areas may score lower on the MMIs which was a concern in our school where this is a priority area,” Dr. Parsons noted.
Under Dr. Parsons’ leadership, the Admissions office is also researching the use of other tests and criteria to help them in selecting a diverse student body; a cause that’s important to Dr. Parsons.
Dr. Parsons is also actively involved in Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) research with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). “We are the only Canadian school studying the use of the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (PSBB) section of the new Medical College Admissions Test in medical school admissions. AAMC partnered with 12 medical schools from the United States of America and Canada to complete the PSBB validity study. I am also a member of the MCAT validity study, and Memorial along with Calgary are the two Canadian schools involved with this. All of these projects put Memorial Admissions on the leading edge internationally.”
Nationally, Dr. Parsons is the Chair of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada Network on Admissions. “All our innovations are aimed at making our admissions process as fair as possible while fulfilling the mission of the medical school and leading to a diverse student body in keeping with our priority areas.”
Dr. Parsons and the other recipients will be recognized at the upcoming CAME Annual General Meeting which is held in conjunction with the Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) in Winnipeg, Manitoba on April 29.