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Med Teach. 2013;35(2):115-9. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.733837. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Competency-based education in family medicine.

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Department of Family Medicine, University of Toronto, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.



As a way of demonstrating an objective assessment of trainee competence, the College of Family Physicians of Canada has recently approved a competency-based framework known as CanMEDS-FM. All training programs in family medicine in Canada will be required to demonstrate the development of curriculum and evaluation methods based on the roles defined by the framework.


This article describes the rationale and the approach used to develop a competency-based education curriculum in the postgraduate family medicine program at the University of Toronto.


The authors describe a systematic approach to curriculum development which includes the formation of a central steering committee, content development by faculty experts, mapping of curriculum to an accreditation framework, and a faculty consensus exercise. We discuss challenges to development and implementation of a competency-based framework as well as areas that require further work and development.


The competency-based curriculum is both a new method of learning for residents and, a new method of teaching for faculty. While there are many potential benefits and challenges, this article focuses on the model's utility in terms of flexible learner-centered educational design, as well as its ability to identify learners' strengths and needs.

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