News at Medicine - August 2013 - Changes to MD program

Changes to MD program
August 16, 2013
Two exciting developments are taking effect at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine this fall. The faculty is launching an innovative new curriculum for its MD program and it has increased its first-year class size to 80 students from the historic baseline of 60.   
“Increasing our first-year class size means that we are able to increase the number of students we traditionally accept and graduate from our MD program,” said Dr. James Rourke, dean, Faculty of Medicine. “Our class beginning this September will include 60 students from Newfoundland and Labrador, an increase of 20 students from our province. This will mean more students from here, trained here and, ultimately, more doctors who will practise here. Not only will the class beginning in September be our first increased class size, they will also have the distinction of being our first class to be taught and assessed using our new curriculum.”   

Dr. Sharon Peters, vice-dean at the Faculty of Medicine, says the faculty is pleased to launch both initiatives for the class beginning in September. She says the new curriculum will enable instructors to provide students with a self-directed, active and experiential learning experience for years to come.
“Over the last few years, many faculty, residents and students have been, and continue to be, involved in the planning of our new curriculum that encompasses, maps and integrates CanMEDS roles and the Medical Council of Canada objectives with new teaching, learning and assessment methods which will benefit both faculty and students alike,” said Dr. Peters.  
The new curriculum is a spiral curriculum model that integrates a story-based context of learning.The story-based curriculum will present learning objectives within the context of fictional patients, communities and physician encounters.Topics related to the learning objectives will be revisited over time and learning will be broadened throughout the educational process. Each successive experience will build on an earlier one that is linked back to the patients and communities.This will support the concept of a spiral curriculum to reinforce learning through continued repetition and broadening of a topic. Students will build their knowledge and understanding in a structured fashion.
The new curriculum is divided into four phases: Phase I – Health and its Promotion, Phase II – Disease Prevention and Disruptions of Health, Phase III – Diagnosis and Investigation of Illness and Disease, and Phase IV – Integration into Clinical Practice (years 3 and 4 clinical clerkship). Students will be provided with an overview of the curriculum early in the program and will be supported by faculty as they move through the curriculum. As well, students will have the opportunity to participate in groups or teams that will be supporting the implementation and evaluation of the curriculum. 
The curriculum for medical students who began the program in 2012 or earlier, will not change.