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Can J Anaesth. 2017 Jan;64(1):16-28. doi: 10.1007/s12630-016-0761-4. Epub 2016 Oct 24.

Participation of Canadian anesthesiology departments in undergraduate medical education.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Manitoba, 671 William Ave, Room AE201, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0Z2, Canada.
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Manitoba, 671 William Ave, Room AE201, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0Z2, Canada.



Historically, anesthesiology departments have played a small role in teaching the pre-clerkship component of undergraduate medical education (UGME). The purpose of this study was to measure the current participation of Canadian anesthesiologists in UGME with a focus on pre-clerkship.


Three surveys were developed in collaboration with the Association of Canadian Departments of Anesthesia. After an initial series of validation procedures, the surveys were distributed to anesthesia department heads, UGME directors, and associate deans at the 17 Canadian medical schools.


The median [interquartile range (IQR)] percentage of anesthesiologists with teaching roles in pre-clerkship was 10.0 [3.4-21]%. The median [IQR] hours taught per anesthesiologist during pre-clerkship was 2.2 [0.4-6.1] hr·yr-1, representing an 817% increase over the last 15 years. Eleven of 17 departments contributed at a level less than expected based on their proportional faculty size, and 6 of 17 departments contributed less than 1% of pre-clerkship hours. Anesthesiology departments thought more strongly than associate deans that their contributions were limited by a lack of teaching opportunities (P = 0.01) and that their contributions were indispensable (P = 0.033). Only 12 of 17 schools had mandatory anesthesia clerkships, with a median [IQR] duration of 10 [10-11] days.


The contribution of anesthesiology departments to pre-clerkship has increased over the past fifteen years but remains much less than expected based on proportional faculty size. While the increase is encouraging, the relatively poor engagement is concerning, representing not only a missed opportunity but also a possible threat to the academic standing of the profession.

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