Dr. Claire Touchie receives Medical Council of Canada Distinguished Service Award
By Wes Payne
In recognition of more than 25 years of dedication to improving medical education standards, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) has honoured Dr. Claire Touchie with the 2021 Dr. Louis Levasseur Distinguished Service Award.
The award is presented annually to an MCC council, staff or committee member whose collaboration has contributed to the vision and mission of the MCC in an extraordinary manner.
Dr. Touchie notes that she was touched to receive this particular honour. “Dr. Levasseur was an exemplary physician, so to be given this award is very humbling,” says Dr. Touchie, adding “I would never have accomplished as much without our incredible team at MCC, so this award is also for them.”
Dr. Touchie is a full professor in the Department of Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine with a cross-appointment to the Department of Innovation in Medical Education (DIME). She has made numerous outstanding contributions to assessment methods and competency-based medical education, ensuring doctors across Canada have the skills required to care for their patients safely and effectively.
She recently retired from her position as chief medical education officer with the MCC, a post she has held since 2013 following numerous previous appointments with the MCC beginning in 1996.
Among the many notable achievements throughout her career, Dr. Touchie served as physician lead for MCC’s Blueprint Project, working internally with various departments and externally with 13 groups of stakeholders in a major collaborative undertaking that reshaped Part I and II of the MCC Qualifying Examination (MCCQE). The Blueprint guides the formulation of these key examinations through an evidence-based approach, identifying core competencies that practicing physicians must possess regardless of specialty.
Dr. Touchie also co-chaired the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada’s (AFMC) development of the Entrustable Professional Activities, which support new doctors in transitioning from medical school to residency programs.
In a recent interview with MCC celebrating her accomplishments, Dr. Touchie highlighted the importance of collaboration, praising her colleagues for their efforts.
“Above all, I am proud to have worked with such dedicated and competent colleagues, collaborators and teammates,” said Dr. Touchie. “All those I have worked with share the same passion of ensuring a high level of care through assessments.”
Dr. Vicki LeBlanc, chair of DIME, notes that Dr. Touchie’s contributions have had tremendous impact not just across Canada, but around the world.
“The Canadian model of medical education and certification is globally recognized for its excellence, and is increasingly being adopted internationally,” says Dr. LeBlanc. “Dr. Touchie has played a significant role in sharing her expertise with global partners.”
Though Dr. Touchie is stepping away from her position at MCC, she plans to stay connected with them. She also remains active at The Ottawa Hospital, specializing in HIV care. “I love that aspect of my work,” Dr. Touchie said in her interview with MCC.
“It reminds me weekly why I came into medicine and why I am passionate about improving physician assessment and routes to licensure.”
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The Innovation in Medical Education fund supports the priorities of the department (DIME) in their goal to be the primary resource for expertise in medical education research, with a mandate to support education and educational scholarship in clinical medicine locally, nationally and internationally.