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40 Years of Family Medicine at McGill University

The core of McGill University’s Family Medicine Department’s mission statement is “to contribute to the health of the population and the sustainability of the healthcare system” on a local and global level, through innovative education, research and quality delivery to patients.

Now at its 40 year milestone, the department celebrates its growth, achievements and contributions it’s made in healthcare by staying true to this mission.

Over the four decades since it was opened, the Family Medicine Department has become the largest single department in the Faculty of Medicine, with more than 200 residents in training and more than 100,000 registered patients across its six training locations.

A two-day celebration was held beginning May 5, which included a gala for graduates, faculty and members. A Primary Care Policy Symposium was held as well, featuring faculty speakers and open discussion for all attendees on the vision for and development of primary care in Quebec.

During the symposium, hard topics were covered, such as the implications and effects that Quebec’s Bill 10 and Bill 20 will have on the already problematic shortage of family care physicians in the province.

Bill 20, which threatens physicians with a 30 percent pay cut should they not meet with a specified quota of patients each year, was of especial interest and controversy to McGill. Dean of McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, David Eidelman, has even spoken out against the bill to the Commission de la sante et des services sociaux, as it cuts at the heart of the department’s mission and values.

The bill would force the current practicing family doctors to take on extra hours in order to see more patients, thus compromising the quality of care they are able to give. Time used to see more patients would also prevent doctors from fulfilling their teaching responsibilities, thus making it a more difficult and expensive to train future family physicians.

McGill’s celebration will continue on June 3, at it’s Complimentary Health Symposium, where these topics of discussion and more will be explored. This academic gathering focuses on “educational and research aspects of complimentary health and integrative medicine,” and will feature discussions presented by medical experts from both Canada and the U.S.