What We Learned Attending The Canadian Conference on Medical Education

Last week was our fifth time attending the Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) in Niagara Falls, Ontario, close to home for Altus Assessments. Although the weather conditions over the few days were less than ideal, the vibrant community of MedEd researchers helped combat the gloom for another successful showing at the largest annual MedEd conference in Canada.

Prior to the official start of the conference, a few of our members attended a number of workshops. Jill Derby, our content lead, and Heather Davidson, our psychometrician, attended a full-day workshop to learn the workings of NVivo for qualitative research to help push some of our initiatives to analyze our internal qualitative data in a more systematic manner. Dr. Christopher Zou, our research scientist, attended a workshop hosted by the Medical Council of Canada (MCC), who previewed their MCC 360 tool, which aims to collect multi-source feedback on medical students and physicians on three of the CanMEDS roles (Professional, Communicator, Collaborator).

On the first day of the conference, Dr. Fern Juster, a previous dean of New York Medical College, presented her findings on a simulation study, looking at how a new tool like CASPer can be incorporated into the admissions process alongside other metrics like GPA and MCAT to promote student diversity while maintaining their academic integrity. Dr. Kelly Dore, the co-founder of CASPer, presented her findings from an online survey that addressed opinions and experiences of program directors (PDs) on accreditation and the CanMEDS framework implementation. Later that day, she presented a poster on the feasibility and reliability of a more objective process for evaluation of CaRMS portfolios. If you are interested in a copy of the slides or posters in anything mentioned above, feel free to contact [email protected].

Over the four days, some of our team members were busy at the booth handling inquiries from curious program representatives, current CASPer partners while the rest of us attended various sessions pertaining to the topic of admissions, assessment, and professionalism. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the sessions we’ve attended:

  • Dr. Justin Lam from the University of Toronto found that only 83% of their incoming MD students would “definitely” choose to become a physician again if they could do it over again, and this proportion continues to drop as students move from Year 1 of medical school to residency. Interestingly, this drop was even more pronounced for Caucasian females, where 13% reported they would “definitely” be a physician again, compared to 37% of Caucasian males, 30% of non-Caucasian males, and 49% of non-Caucasian females.  
Image is taken from @austnyan at Twitter
  • Dr. Walter Tavares from the University of Toronto found that even though educators tend to make a sharp distinction between formative and summative evaluations, raters themselves tend to not distinguish between the two, often provided similar scores and narrative statements regardless of the different purposes of assessment.
  • Dr. Shiphra Ginsburg, also from the University of Toronto, highlighted the importance of context when interpreting narrative comments, as participants often struggled to attach meaning to words without their contexts such as the role of the writer, the intended purpose of the comments, and the culture.
  • Hana Lee, once again from the University of Toronto (who had a strong showing at this year’s CCME), demonstrated the success of their Black Student Application Program (BSAP) that was implemented in the fall of 2017, which increased the number of black medical students in the entering class from 1 in 2016 to 14 in 2018.

On Monday morning, our team hosted a breakfast session to our current partners, highlighting some of the recent advancements we’ve made with CASPer (similar to the presentation we gave at AAMC in 2018). We’ve completely revamped our TakeCASPer website, moved forward with a number of our research projects with our partner schools (one of which will be soon coming out in Academic Medicine), and made a handful of improvements to our rater training process based on research and industry best practices. If you would like a copy of the presentation from CCME, please contact Adam Clark, [email protected].

Pictured above: Katerine Champagne (Bilingual Project Coordinator) attending her first CCME

On that same night, we hosted a reception as a means to show our appreciation to the MedEd community by facilitating the opportunity to network and build relationships with not only our team but also other individuals in the community. We had several attendees show up (with a strong presence from the University of Manitoba!) and had great discussions about curling, k-pop, and our predictions on who will survive the last season of Game of Thrones. Although we officially booked the tables from 7:30 to 9:30 pm, we completely lost track of the time and ended up leaving the restaurant past 11:00 pm.

With the end of the reception came the conclusion of our time at CCME. We thank everyone for attending our various presentations, night reception, and coming by to chat at our booth, and we hope to see all of you next year at CCME 2020 in Vancouver, British Columbia!

Pictured above from left to right: Adam Clark (Customer Success Manager), Christopher Zou (Research Scientist), Heather Davidson (Psychometrician), Jill Derby (Content Lead) winding down at CCME

Author: Chris Zou, PhD