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UGME Strategic Plan

Situating the UGME Program within the Faculty of Health Sciences

Within the organization structure of the Faculty of Health Sciences, the UGME program is one of four programs in the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine. It consists of a MD program, MD/PhD program and an Undergraduate Visiting Medical Electives Program.

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The undergraduate medical education (UGME) program engages in an ongoing planning and continuous quality improvement process that establishes short and long term programmatic goals using a process outlined in the Strategic Planning Process document. This process is focused on the achievement of measurable outcomes that improve programmatic quality, and ensures effective monitoring of the program’s adherence with accreditation standards. 

This strategic plan was generated through a four stage process which included: surveying, leadership consultation, focus groups and committee vetting. 

View the full UGME Strategic Plan 2021-2024.

Our Strategic Priorities include:

DOMAIN 1: EDUCATE AND INSPIRE to the highest level of competence, capacity and professionalism 

Graduate competent and capable future physicians instilled with McMaster values to lead in the delivery of healthcare and be emissaries of its international reputation.



Maintain a widely accessible map of UME curriculum and assessment linking and aligning each activity to one or more core curricular objectives. Provide and reference these maps to students, staff and faculty within each core curricular unit.

Renewed focus on professionalism:
a. Create a Chair role for Professionalism to triage professionalism concerns in collaboration with the Faculty of Health Sciences Professionalism office, MD program curricular leads, regional assistant deans, and associate dean

b. Update the Professionalism in Practice rubric outline professional expectations in collaboration with the School of Medicine

c. Create a UME Professionalism policy to streamline report, feedback and management of professionalism concerns

Clinical skills development. Create opportunities within each clinical skills foundation unit to provide formative assessment organized to prepare students to achieve the AFMC Entrustable Professional Activities

Enhance service learning: create a Director of Service Learning role to structure, support and engage students in service learning opportunities

Longitudinal career exploration program: develop and implement a longitudinal program within the pre-clerkship leveraging virtual and online platforms to expose students to a “day in the life” of different physician types

Longitudinal professional development portfolios: provide structure, support and recognition on student transcripts for systematic engagement in leadership, scholarship, and service learning. Build a portfolio process and assessment system with metrics around objectives, professional development, engagement, dissemination, and reflection

Integrate AFMC Entrustable Professional Activities systematically throughout the curriculum to facilitate the development of key professional competencies, and incorporate their assessment within the transition to residency

Ongoing systematic program evaluation and establishment of continuous quality improvement focused on a subset of accreditation standards in rotation each year



Excel in our mission of distributed medical education to address priority health concerns of the community and region we have a mandate to serve, while upholding our Faculty of Health Science values of equity, diversity, and inclusion. 



Identify priority health concerns of groups identified within the social accountability framework: implement a scoping process to identify priority health concerns and report these to UME leadership and community on biennial basis

Establish and support a Chair of Indigenous Curriculum in collaborative allyship with the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Indigenous Health Initiative

Admit and retain Black students as an identified priority group: Establish a direct-application stream for Black students and provide support for their success within the program

Address priority health concerns of groups identified within the social accountability framework throughout the curriculum, and make this transparent through accessible curricular and assessment maps: maintain a curricular map which identifies areas of the curriculum, types and locations of experiences which address priority health concerns of groups identified within the social accountability framework

Increase scholarship and bursary funding: support students in financial need with a focus on students from marginalized and underrepresented groups

Measure diversity within the program: conduct annual surveys of students, staff and faculty, summarized for program leadership and the broader community

Measure success of addressing health concerns of priority groups identified within the social accountability framework: establish and measure outcomes related to social accountability on an annual basis



Focus on the student journey, emphasizing the importance of autonomy, resilience and wellness.



Optimize communication between students and program leadership: Create a staff role dedicated to communications to streamline townhalls, coordinate electronic newsletters and online information updates.

Facilitate the reporting and handling of student mistreatment concerns: Streamline process for reporting mistreatment, and streamline the downstream processes for managing mistreatment concerns.

Develop leadership mentorship program to support those involved in student leadership through a longitudinal structured program focused on development of leadership knowledge, skills, and identity.

Update assessment and appeal policies: renewed focus on transparency and empowerment of learners in understanding assessment standards and processes, and ensuring alignment and clarity with University processes for appeal.

Wellness: Expand flex day policy to create opportunity for a flex day in each Medical Foundation.

Support the improvement of the learning climate: foster a programmatic approach to improving the learning climate with ongoing assessment of the learning climate and site reviews every 3 years. Review mistreatment concerns in an integrated model with postgraduate medical education. Develop processes of support to measure, change, and monitor the learning climate.

Foster resilience and wellness in the curriculum: Systematically integrate wellness and resilience training strategies within the core curriculum throughout the program

Online accessibility: Overhaul the external web page with paths catering to different user types to provide transparent access to descriptive information, resources and policies. Highlight successes of students, staff and faculty through social media and web based strategies.



Foster research and innovation by students, faculty and leaders. Innovate with a continuous quality improvement lens, using a scholarly lens to engage internationally as a leader in undergraduate medical education 



Build scholarship opportunities: Expand and maintain a distributed model of research and scholarship opportunities such that every student can engage and meaningfully contribute to structured scholarly activities that fit within the three year program, with defined and tracked outcomes.

Scholarly scoping consults: partner with the educational scholarship community (e.g. MERIT, Clinician Educator Diploma Program and the Health Sciences Education Masters Program) to provide high-level summaries of relevant educational theory and evidence around proposed program policy, process or curricular changes, with a dual purpose of equipping faculty leaders and decision makers with robust evidence for decisions while supporting scholarly approaches to knowledge synthesis

Foster scholarship in distributed medical education that builds regional, national, and international collaborations focused on defining and measuring processes, policies and outcomes.


Modify curricular review to incorporate continuous quality improvement cycles: build continuous quality improvement cycles within the curricular committee review work to iteratively improve curricular components

Collaborate internationally with other 3 year undergraduate medical programs to share, innovate and report on educational process and outcomes to optimize programming for a three year program format

Build and support partnerships with regional clinical and academic centers of excellence that foster service, leadership and clinical opportunities for students to accelerate their professional growth


Engage and connect within our program, departments, university and healthcare community to enhance and support our UME mission while ensuring resilience and sustainability of the program



Leadership development for faculty and staff: provide at least one focused relevant leadership development opportunity for both program leaders and staff each year

Align affiliations with accreditation standards: Renew all Hospital affiliation agreements to ensure ongoing alignment of affiliations with accreditation standards.

Decentralize core curricular components: Adopt a model for large group sessions which uses either virtual or concurrent curriculum presentation at distributed sites

Asynchronous document consultation process: take advantage of the full potential of cloud-based document sharing to develop, consult and approve processes, policies and documents wherever possible. Use asynchronous approval processes without meeting wherever possible. Aim for all documents to be circulated two weeks in advance for asynchronous comments before meetings.

Optimize meetings: Regular review of committee terms of reference with attention to minimize meeting burden, meeting frequency, meeting participants, travel time ratio using virtual platforms, pre-circulated agendas and documents, point form minutes, and cloud based documents storage.

Update electronic records platform: Migrate to an updated version of Medsis that tracks accommodations, student absences, and alternate training paths.

Connect regularly with staff and faculty: Maintain a staff, faculty and leadership database. Build links to the faculty group through an annual meeting, annual report, and surveys to proactively identify challenges.

Build and maintain relationships with clinical departments and hospital partners: Provide an annual report, and present once every three years for major stakeholders (Clinical Chairs, regional Hospital meetings)

Optimize resourcing of program leaders: Adopt a central process for review of all job descriptions with each posting and renewal to include sections containing expectations around staff support collaboratively developed with program administration, professional development support, accreditation accountability collaboratively developed with the Chair of Program Evaluation.


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