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Acad Med. 2010 Feb;85(2):340-8. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181c8880d.

In the spirit of Flexner: working toward a collective vision for the future of medical education in Canada.

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Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada launched the Future of Medical Education in Canada (FMEC) Project in 2007. The FMEC Project's overarching goal was to comprehensively examine the current state of undergraduate medical education, concentrating on its alignment with current and future societal needs. Like Flexner's work, the FMEC Project used a process of reflection and renewal; unlike Flexner's work, the FMEC Project used multiple techniques to gather information, including literature reviews, key informant interviews, international visits, and a series of consultations with stakeholders and expert groups. The project's final report, The Future of Medical Education in Canada: A Collective Vision, put forth 10 recommendations that summarized priority areas for academic medicine and medical training in Canada at the start of the 21st century. The current article reviews FMEC Project recommendations in relation to the priorities set out by Flexner in 1910. In some areas, such as the scientific basis of medical education, there is striking congruence between Flexner's views and today's collective vision. In other areas, such as community-based learning, opinion appears to have shifted markedly over the past century, and concepts such as interprofessionalism may represent distinctly modern domains. While Flexnerian themes tend to center on the notion of medicine as science, present-day priorities converge on the link between academic medicine and societal needs. By looking back on Flexner's work, we can see where his vision has taken us. As well, we see more clearly the new frontiers that academic medicine will continue to explore.

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