McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Background on the McMaster Community and Rural Education (Mac-CARE) program

Published: July 29, 2008
  • The McMaster Community and Rural Education program, known as Mac-CARE, was created in 2006 to arrange for clinical clerks and residents of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University to complete portions of their training outside academic hospital systems.
  • The Mac-CARE program is funded by the Ontario government as a way of addressing the provincial physician shortage by encouraging medical students to practice in community environments. Studies show medical students often stay and practise where they learn. As well, physicians practising in small cities or rural communities are more likely to stay longer if they have the opportunity to teach.
  • Clinical clerks are medical students in the last half of their training, spending rotations of six weeks in different specialties. Medical students also spend six week periods on electives, working with physicians in areas they are considering for their specialty.
  • Medical residents are doctors who spend their apprenticeship, which ranges from two years for family medicine to five or more years for other specialties, working closely with senior physicians in their specialty. They see patients under supervision of faculty physicians.  
  • Academic sessions for clerks and residents are either provided by McMaster using learning technologies including web-conferencing, videoconferencing and webcasting or by local physicians.
  • MacCARE has more than 400 rotations of four to six weeks for medical students and residents in locations ranging from Niagara Falls to Oakville.
  • In the Brantford area, Mac-CARE has students at the Brant Community Healthcare System, which is a Clinical Education Campus of the medical school with a diverse learning environment, providing two hospitals with 300 beds with programs ranging from rural operations to a full-service hospital.
  • Mac-CARE also has students at the Six Nations Aboriginal Health Centre, a collaboration with Six Nations Polytechnic, and at the Norfolk General Hospital in Simcoe, the West Haldimand Hospital in Hagersville. Thirty-five members of the medical community of the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk and Six Nations area work as clinical faculty members and preceptors to the students.
  • The Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine has won the prestigious Keith Award from the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada as the medical school that best selects and trains physicians who choose to practice in rural communities. The award was given for the school’s emphasis on striving to select and train doctors based on where they are most needed.
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