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MEDS 112 - Critical Appraisal of Research and Lifelong Learning (CARL)

The Critical Appraisal, Research and Learning (CARL) course is completed by all medical students as a component of the Professional Foundations curriculum offered in the fall of their first year. The course encompasses 6 themes including: 1) Medical information literacy (searching and filtering reliable medical information), 2) Diagnostic tests and their properties, 3) research designs and methods, 4) Understanding the results of medical research, 5) Critical appraisal of medical literature, 6) Key learning strategies to foster effective educational and professional learning. These themes are addressed with didactic and small group learning exercises, online modules and textbook readings.

MEDS 117 - Determinants of Health

Health Determinants introduces foundational concepts of social determinants of health, advocacy, and culture and diversity including cases that cover important topics related to global health and special populations. (The material in this course is closely related to the AFMC Primer on Population Health Part 1-Theory). The content from many aspects of this course form 'building blocks' that will be addressed again at higher levels of sophistication in the clinical courses in terms 3 and 4 and in clerkship.

Expanded CARL

The skills learned in the CARL course continue to be applied by all students throughout their subsequent pre-clerkship and clerkship courses through planned critical appraisal groupwork activities in which students appraise selected topical articles pertaining to their current coursework. In small groups, students complete an appraisal assignment for each article and participate in a class discussion facilitated jointly by the CARL professors. This longitudinal approach to critical appraisal ensures that students finish medical school having practiced and applied the skills that they learned in term 1 in multiple different contexts before entering residency. There are currently structured applied critical appraisal activities as components of the hematology, geriatrics, pediatrics, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrinology, genitourinary and neurology courses.

MEDS 232 - Critical Enquiry

This mandatory 2nd year undergraduate medical course guides students through the fundamental steps in the creation of a research proposal, through monthly small group learning and a series of progressive structured assignments. Students are assigned to topic focused research groups through a ranking process. They are mentored in a 3:1 student:faculty ratio by either active clinician scientists or faculty with epidemiologic and research expertise.

Monthly lectures deliver structured content relevant to the research development process, and completion of an online research ethics module is an additional mandatory component of the course. In addition, students are instructed on techniques for systematic literature review and are expected to produce an annotated bibliography for their topic of investigation. They also generate a research question with justification midway through the course. The course culminates in the submission of a full research proposal.  

Course deadlines are structured to complement funded summer student research grant deadlines, so that students who choose to carry their developed proposals out may compete for funding support. Students who successfully complete this course have demonstrated competence in the development and creation of a research proposal falling within one of the four pillars of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research: biomedical, clinical, health systems and services and population and public health.