Continuous Quality Improvement and Community-Based Faculty Development through an Innovative Site Visit Program at One Institution
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This article describes and evaluates a unique site-visit process for community-based teaching sites. A continuous quality-improvement program was developed by the undergraduate program in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine to facilitate and document both self- and peer-assessment. A pilot program was launched in 2000, and, after some adjustments based on initial feedback, the program in its current form was implemented in 2002. This program provides individualized support mechanisms to address the faculty development needs and infrastructure requirements of community-based, mostly volunteer, teachers. It also trains participating reviewers to provide individualized faculty development at the point of teaching. During their training, reviewers receive a toolkit consisting of suggestions for initial contact with teachers, guidelines for peer assessments, previously completed previsit teacher surveys, reviewer checklists, postvisit feedback forms, sample thank-you letters, and a faculty development reference resource list. A two-year evaluation of the program demonstrated that faculty and reviewer participants perceived it to be comprehensive, consistent, informative, and an acceptable method of reviewing existing and prospective community-based teaching sites. This program should be transferable to other institutions that engage in community-based teaching.
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