Chair: Dr. Subrata Chakrabarti (Western University, London, ON)

Report of Canadian Chairs of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (CCPLM), 2014-15

In 2014-15, CCPLM convened at the CAP-ACP Conference in Toronto, ON (July 12, 2014) and at the USCAP Conference in Boston, MA (March 23, 2015). CCPLM will meet at the CAP-ACP Conference in Montreal, QC (June 20, 2015).

Highlights of CCPLM discussion topics to date in 2014-15 included:

  • Laboratory reorganization activities in several Canadian jurisdictions. The RFP process in Northern Alberta is of particular interest. The original decision to award the contract to Sonic Healthcare has been appealed and greater clarity is expected by the end of calendar year 2015.
  • Public Awareness Campaign.  Launch of the “” website was well-received. Undergraduate medical students are an important target audience. Increasing public awareness through displays in hospital lobbies, etc. and engaging residents to be “ambassadors” in various public forums (e.g., Café Scientifique; fundraising with other partners).
  • CaRMS 2015 Match. Results this year were more encouraging for many programs. The importance of having stable program leadership in place at the time of the match was stressed. Internal reassignment of unmatched positions is considered to be an acceptable option if such unmatched positions are reassigned to the original program(s) in subsequent years. A national health human resources plan to clarify future needs may help to address “medical unemployment” and other misconceptions that may affect career choices of potential good applicants.
  • Pathologists’ Assistants Programs. University of Calgary has had productive discussions with NAACLS and both the course-based and thesis-based Master’s degree programs will have full accreditation and anticipate to start in July, 2016. Good progress is being made in discussions between the University of Alberta and NAACLS.
  • Royal College “Competency by Design”. CCPLM notes that there are already areas of competenecy based education being implemented in laboratory medicine disciplines (e.g., Transfusion Medicine, Cytopathology). Programs will have to pay attention to the limitations of a “tickbox” mentality and instead aim to promote professionalism, enabled by periodic meetings of residents with the Chief. Other aspects for consideration to inform planning of competency-based education:
    • The increased amount of documentation that will be required;
    • Training for competence vs. excellence;
    • Encouraging life-long learning once a person has been deemed “competent”;
    • Rewriting goals and objectives in CanMEDS 2015 format. 
    • Use of RISE exams to monitor progress through residency training.
  • Canadian Journal of Pathology. Publication of review articles is one means to increase impact factor. CCPLM supports having both electronic and print options availablefor the Journal.
  • CAP-ACP Meetings. CCPLM role in scientific program design, adjudication of posters and awards.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard Hegele
University of Toronto
June 15, 2015