As promised, I have been meeting with faculty members since the announcement of the transition incentive package. Overall, these have been great conversations, and faculty members have had lots of questions – in most cases about details of the package.
However, one underlying theme running through these conversations is the impression the university wants people to leave their academic roles. Nothing could be further from the truth!
My most important message to everyone with an interest in the CoM is we want to retain everyone who is committed to a career in academic medicine. Our ultimate goal is many, many more academic clinicians.
As noted in my last blog, the vision is a One Faculty model; with More Faculty; built on engagement and compensation strategies that ensure Fairness and Accountability.
I would like to remind us of the entire context.
In 2013, the CoM agreed to The Way Forward. The decision to no longer hire MD’s to tenure track positions was made in June, 2013. In the larger context, virtually all of our Canadian peers had gone in this direction decades ago.
We are already well on our way to a One Faculty model. Virtually every faculty appointee who I talk with supports this philosophy.
75% of our graduates and residents want a career that includes teaching and research. This is a sign of success – our graduates have enquiring minds and know the value of scholarly pursuits. Furthermore, the demands of patient care are so great that our academic work needs to be spread across the broader medical community. The days when a small select group of doctors can run the medical school are long gone.
So we are already well on our way to a One Faculty model. Six physicians have signed on to an ACFP since the spring, with approximately twenty more in development. Since my arrival, we have signed multiple contracts with community MD faculty appointees: five to take on leadership roles, and nearly twenty for teaching roles in the UGME and PGME curricula.
If we simply allowed attrition to be our only strategy for transition to the One Faculty model, the process would take much too long. I could see in several years we may still have approximately 100 faculty members and maybe 100 or so people signed up to the ACFP.
Of course one challenge in our profession is the diversity of compensation, but I could see great inequity developing, as some faculty members in some disciplines could be at a great financial disadvantage as compared to the ACFP.
This incentive package is an opportunity for all members to take a look at their own circumstances, consider their own academic and clinical career goals, and choose what is best for them.
I have talked to some who are making great academic contributions. They can continue to do so, under an ACFP, or under a contract with the CoM. For most in this situation, going to an ACFP should not change their actual daily work life.
I have talked to others who – while enjoying bedside teaching of students and residents – do not have an active research program, and have little interest in more educational roles. Those individuals may find the transition incentive and either FFS or a health region position to be more attractive. These physicians too are needed here at the CoM as clinical teachers.
So as you look at your options, remember the CoM and the U of S wants to retain and even grow your academic contributions. Take your time, discuss with peers and professional advisors, and rest assured the College of Medicine and I value your academic contributions.
As always, my door is open.