Faculty and Staff Travel 30,000 km Across Ontario to Support Rural Preceptors and Residents

Jul 5, 2016

When thinking about family medicine at U of T, DFCM’s affiliated teaching hospital sites in and around the Greater Toronto Area often first come to mind; yet DFCM includes over 30 community-based teaching sites throughout rural Ontario that make up its rural residency and teaching practices programs. 

There are several ways family medicine residents at DFCM can gain experience practicing in rural communities. The Teaching Practices program provides a two-month rural placement as part of the PGY2 year in the Family Medicine curriculum, where they are exposed to the opportunities, challenges and rewards or practicing in rural communities. Or residents can choose to enrol in the Rural Residency Stream which allows them to spend the entire second-year of their family medicine training in Midland, Orillia, Port Perry or Orangeville.

Supporting and engaging rural preceptors is challenging: they are distributed at sites from as far east as Kincardine, as far west as Campbellford and as far north as Red Lake (about a 6 hour drive from Thunder Bay).

That’s why Dr. Erika Catford, Director of the Teaching Practices Program, Dr. Gwen Sampson, the professional development representative for Teaching Practices, and Fadia Ayoub, the Teaching Practices Program Assistant, headed out on a two-week, 30,000 km faculty development tour that included conducting workshops for 95 preceptors in 22 communities.

Faculty at each site had an opportunity to select from a list of seven accredited MainProC Practice Based Small Group (PBSG) learning modules. The workshops were selected based on their needs, including topics like providing feedback to learners, interprofessional education and collaboration and time efficient teaching strategies. During the visit, preceptors were also able to update their practice profile.

“We’ve conducted many efforts to engage with our rural preceptors online, however, we have found that face-to-face visits have so many long-term benefits that the travel is worth it,” says Dr. Sampson, who also practices in Stouffville.
This isn’t the first time a tour of this nature has been undertaken: in 2012 they visited over 23 rural sites to create a video profile of each practice and community. These videos are used to provide residents with the opportunity to review and make the best decision before selecting their choices for the Teaching Practices matching process.

The videos can be viewed on DFCM’s YouTube site. 

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