Faculty of Medicine calls on "non-traditional" applicants

Current med student Amanda Lord./Photo: Owen Egan
Current med student Amanda Lord./Photo: Owen Egan

By McGill Reporter Staff

Have you thought about attending medical school but think your educational background disqualifies you? Maybe you’ve been working on a different career path. Or maybe you took time off from your studies to raise a family, but your desire to study medicine still burns bright.

These are just some, but not all, of the possible “non-traditional” pathways that could lead to studying Medicine at McGill beginning in the fall of 2011.

The “non-traditional pathways” program, the Faculty of Medicine’s latest innovation in health science education, was conceived as a means of increasing the diversity of medical classes and to address the shortage of general practitioners.

“Our goal is to have a health-care system that reflects the diversity of the country and of the population it serves,” said Dr. Saleem Razack, Assistant Dean of Admissions for the Faculty of Medicine. “When we look at the entering medical classes, many students come from privileged backgrounds and were on the path to medical school from a young age. They got the memo, they know what the roadmap is. They start volunteering when they’re in their teens. This new initiative looks for candidates who have experienced a different kind of journey. They can bring a whole other set of skills that are extremely important in being effective physicians.

“It is a way of valorizing these diverse experiences and capturing the unique excellence these kinds of candidates will bring to a medical class and to the health-care system down the road.

Dr. Razack added that the program might also serve to draw more candidates into areas like family medicine as mature students are more likely to consider generalist practices.

For its first year, up to three seats in the Quebec University category have been reserved for candidates who hold a Bachelor’s degree (studies may have been completed full-time or part-time) and who have interrupted their academic studies for three or more years. The Faculty is open to adjusting the number of seats over the coming years as the program evolves.