McMaster's innovations in medical education honored by Newsweek
Mac is only Canadian school to be named in list of six
Published: March 3, 1997
American publishing giant Newsweek Magazine has included
Canada's McMaster University on its list of six innovative North American
The article, titled Variations on the Theme, appears in the 1998 edition
on graduate schools which is published by Newsweek with Kaplan
Educational Centers. The guide appeared on news-stands March 5.
"An hour's drive from Toronto lies a granddaddy of alternative medical
schools," writes journalist Bronwyn Fryer. "McMaster changed the face of
medical education in 1965, when it recognized that would-be doctors were
taught the technology rather than the humanity of medicine."
The article credits McMaster as "the birthplace of problem-based learning
(PBL), a teaching methodology in which students work on 'patient cases'
in a real or simulated clinical setting. McMaster's program was so
successful that when Harvard medical school adopted a PBL approach in the
1980s, it was hailed as the 'new pathway' to medical education. Today
most medical schools offer some form of PBL as part of their teaching
Community-oriented, people-centred, interdisciplinary and problem-based,
the 'McMaster Approach' originally evoked world-wide attention, and
considerable skepticism. It has since become a hallmark of McMaster's
integrated Faculty of Health Sciences.
"The innovations of 30 years ago continue today," explains Dr. Raelene
Rathbone, acting dean and vice-president, health sciences. "The Faculty
of Health Sciences at McMaster University is the only one in Canada which
houses its educational programs in medicine with nursing, occupational
and physiotherapy, and others. The Faculty has most recently developed
the country's first university program in midwifery
and is in the planning stages of our new Institute for Applied Health Sciences, a joint
venture with Mohawk College."
McMaster president Dr. Peter George says that the Newsweek honor is a
fitting tribute to the leadership of then University president Dr. Harry
Thode and founding dean of the new medical school, Dr. John Evans.
"Today's innovations build on a foundation created by a visionary team of
founders," George says. "More than three decades later, McMaster's
Faculty of Health Sciences continues to be a World leader in all aspects
of education, research and health service. It is a great honor for us --
as a Faculty, as a University, as a community -- to receive this kind of
The U.S. schools "making the grade" in innovation are Duke University,
Boston University, Brown University, Dartmouth College and University of California at San Diego.