DME is the delivery of clinical medical education outside of the traditional academic health centres. This ranges from private medical offices to group clinics to community hospitals. DME was created to help with the societal needs of underserviced populations in rural areas. Medical school enrollment was increased and learners were encouraged to explore these rural areas for potential future practice options.
DME has now become part of the standard medical education curriculum across the country and gives learners an opportunity to experience rural/community medicine throughout their educational training. From the student perspective, this experience can show them the joys of community practice and rural lifestyles. Even if they don’t want to practice in a smaller centre, these experiences will teach them what it is like to work with limited resources. They tend to get more one-on-one contact with their preceptor instead of numerous layers of medical students and residents. For preceptors, it helps them stay current with medical education and training. Having a learner will make them question the reasons why they choose a certain course of treatment for patients and hopefully keep them more up-to-date with medical standards of care. Finally, for the communities where there is medical education taking place, it gives them a sense of pride at educating the future physicians of Canada.
The DME Office helps by creating and supporting local medical education programs. We help strengthen the links between the Faculty of Medicine and the community physicians and hospitals. We ensure that the students have a safe and enjoyable experience which is of high educational value. We work with the community physicians to provide faculty development programs which are delivered in the community to increase their teaching skills. With these links, we hope to promote rural/community medicine and help with the underserviced needs of rural populations.