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Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University

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The Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, known as the McMaster University School of Medicine prior to 2003,[1] is the medical school of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is operated by the McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences. It is one of two medical programs in Canada, along with the University of Calgary, that operates on an accelerated 3-year MD program, instead of the traditional 4-year MD Program.

Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University
MDCL Building at McMaster University.jpg
Established1966; 53 years ago (1966)
DeanPaul O'Byrne
Students203 per year
Location, ,

Currently, McMaster ranks 23rd in the world and 2nd in Canada for medicine according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018.[2] In 2012, McMaster ranked 14th in the world and 1st in Canada in medicine, according to the Times Higher Education Rankings.[3]

The school received 4,929 applications for the Class of 2020, the most applications of any medical school in Canada, and had an acceptance rate of 4.2%.[4][5] The average GPA of entering undergraduates in the Class of 2020 was 3.84 and the average MCAT Verbal Reasoning or Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills score was 10.76 or 128.9, respectively, a score in the 95th percentile.[6] Unlike many other medical schools, McMaster University's medical school does not drop any courses or years in their GPA calculation, as well as only uses the MCAT Verbal score in the MCAT component of their admissions calculation. Students also have to write the CASPer admissions test, first developed by McMaster in 2010.

Since its formation, the school invented the small-group, case-based learning curriculum which is now known as PBL or problem-based learning. In addition, the school was the first in the world to institute a 3-year M.D. program in 1965, with classes being held year round. In the 1980s, McMaster developed and coined the term "evidence-based medicine" as a way to approach clinical problem solving.[7] McMaster also developed the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) system in 2001 for medical school admissions which has been adopted as part of the admissions system in professional schools around the world. In 2010, McMaster developed the CASPer test for medical school admissions, which has recently been adopted at several medical schools across North America.



McMaster University had long been a target of proposals for a medical school. As early as 1892, Trinity Medical College in Toronto had sought affiliation with McMaster. In the 1930s, Dr. C.E. Cooper-Cole and Dr. Gordon Murray were invited to become the first professors of medicine and surgery at the university. However the plans were later shelved.[8] In 1956, Sir Francis R. Fraser, wrote the Fraser report and concluded that McMaster could feasibly host a medical school. At the same time, the Ontario government had expressed the opinion that Ontario would need an additional medical school by 1966. The main driving force behind the project was Harry Thode, at the time the vice president of the university and later, the president. By 1965, the first dean of the new medical school John Robert Evans, was appointed. By 1966, the first five faculty members, John Robert Evans, William Walsh, Bill Spaulding, James Anderson and Fraser Mustard were recruited.[8]

Facilities and teaching sitesEdit

St. Joseph's Hospital, Charlton Campus.

The school is located at McMaster University's main campus in Hamilton, Ontario, housed within the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery, a building built in 2004 and the adjacent Health Sciences Centre. The DeGroote facility is shared with the Centre for Function Genomics, Centre for Gene Therapeutics, Institute for Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Research, Robert E. Fitzhenry Vector Laboratory, Centre for Asthma and Allergy Research (Allergen) and North American Headquarters for West Nile studies, as well as the Bachelor of Health Sciences undergraduate program.[9]

In 2016, the medical school opened the David Braley Health Sciences Centre, a 192,000 square foot building, to be used by the Family Medicine department, Hamilton Public Health and other various academic divisions of the medical school.

The medical school currently operates three campuses: the main Hamilton campus; the Waterloo Regional Campus located on the Health Sciences Campus of the University of Waterloo in downtown Kitchener, Ontario; and the Niagara Regional Campus located on the main campus of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. All three campuses offer the same curriculum and lead to the same degree, but differ in patient populations and teaching locations.

McMaster's teaching hospitals are divided into two major hospital groupings: Hamilton Health Sciences, recently ranked 2nd in Canada among research hospitals and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.

Hamilton General Hospital
David Braley Health Sciences Centre
McMaster University teaching hospitals
Institution Main specialty Number of Beds Affiliated research arm
Hamilton General Hospital Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Trauma, Rehabilitation, Neurology, Neurosurgery 607 David Braley Cardiac, Vascular and Stroke Research Institute, Population Health Research Institute
St. Joseph's Hospital Charlton Campus Nephrology, Urology, Pulmonology, Thoracic Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology, Ophthalmology 700+ Father Sean O'Sullivan Research Centre, Brain Body Institute, McMaster Institute for Surgical Invention, Innovation and Education, Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health, McMaster Institute of Urology, Hamilton Centre for Kidney Research
St. Joseph's Hospital West 5th Campus Psychiatry 305
McMaster University Medical Centre and McMaster Children's Hospital Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics 405
Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Oncology, Orthopedic Surgery, Hepatobiliary Surgery 228 Escarpment Cancer Research Institute
St. Peter's Hospital Rehabilitation, Geriatrics 250

The school is also affiliated with the following Ontario hospitals, where students rotate and train during their clerkship:

Educational influenceEdit

The medical school is a pioneer in its teaching and admissions philosophies through the Program for Educational Research and Development.[10] McMaster created a revolution in health care training by pioneering the problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum, which has since influenced health care education worldwide. The instructional strategy focuses on student-driven learning, which occurs in groups. Most medical schools in North America have adopted PBL in varying degrees into their curriculum.[11][better source needed]

In the early 1990s, the School of Medicine developed the personal progress index (PPI) as an objective method for assessing acquisition and retention of knowledge for students in the medical program. The PPI is administered at routine intervals to all students in the program, regardless of their level of training, and plots students' increases in scores as they move through the program. Students typically score under 15% on their first write, and increase 5-7% with each successive write. Students are able to monitor the changes in their scores and receive formative feedback based on a standardized score relative to the class mean. Due to the overwhelming success and research supporting the use of the PPI as an evaluation tool, it is now used in Canada, US, Europe, and Australia.[12][better source needed]

In 2004, McMaster developed the multiple-mini interview to address long standing concerns over the standard panel interviews as being poor reflectors of performance in medical school.[13] This format uses short, independent assessments in a timed circuit to obtain aggregate scores in interpersonal skills, professionalism, ethical/moral judgment, and critical thinking to assess candidates. The MMI has consistently shown to have a higher predictive validity for future performance than traditional interviews.[14] By 2008, the MMI was being used as an admissions test for the majority of medical schools in Canada, Australia, and Israel, as well as other medical schools in the United States and Asia.

In 2010, McMaster began using a computer-based simulated test known as CASPer as an admissions tool at the pre-interview stage. This is an assessment of interpersonal and decision-making skills that is more reliable, and predicts much more validity than standard autobiographical submissions. The test involves several video clips lasting 1–2 minutes in length, followed by situational challenges and self-descriptive questions that may or may not be related to the preceding video clip.[15]


The acceptance rate for McMaster University's medical school was 3.8% in 2017.[16] The Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine received over 5200 applications in 2014 for a class size of approximately 200 students.[16] The average GPA of entering undergraduates in the Class of 2017 was 3.83 and the average MCAT verbal score was 11 (95th percentile).[6]


The program is divided into two parts: the pre-clerkship curriculum and the clerkship curriculum, each spanning half of the three years. The pre-clerkship curriculum is divided into five medical foundations, where students meet with a faculty member twice a week in a small group setting for teaching. Learning is done using the problem-based learning approach, where students set objectives, complete independent research, and then use their small group sessions to teach others, ask questions, and challenge one another with the guidance of their tutor. Students also complete clinical skills and professional competencies training at this time. Students are not graded during pre-clerkship. Evaluations are given at the end of each medical foundation. Feedback from the students' tutors is given on tests and the PPI (personal progress index test) provides the student with a sense of his progress during pre-clerkship.

The clerkship curriculum consists of a rotating schedule. Students move through various medical disciplines. These include: Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Psychiatry, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Anesthesia, and a number of elective blocks for specialties of interest to the individual student. In their third year, students apply to the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) for residency training after completion of the MD Program.

Students are allowed to take an enrichment year that can last up to twelve months. Students can pursue academic work during that period, including research. In addition, up to 40% of the time is available for clinical electives. Students can also pursue a master's degree at McMaster or other universities during that period.

98% of McMaster graduates matched to a residency position in the first iteration of the match in 2016.[17]

International health electivesEdit

McMaster students have 24 weeks of elective time to pursue at McMaster or elsewhere. McMaster encourages students to participate in electives abroad. Students routinely travel all over the world including to countries like South Africa, Uganda, UK, Germany, United States, China, India, Japan and South Korea. Most electives are organized through external organizations or through the students own arrangements, however, McMaster has agreements with different medical universities/cities for medical electives abroad. Currently, McMaster has arranged bilateral exchange agreements with the following universities and cities:


McMaster's Faculty of Health Sciences oversees $223 million a year in research, ranking it 2nd in Canada for 5 years in a row.[18] McMaster's Hamilton Health Sciences hospital group is ranked 1st in Canada for researcher intensity with each researcher bringing in $711,000. It is also ranked 2nd in Canada in the top 40 research hospitals list.[19] McMaster is considered a leader in clinical epidemiology and thrombosis research with names like Dr. Jack Hirsh, Dr. Salim Yusuf leading the way. The American Society of Hematology and McMaster University are collaborating to release the official guidelines on the treatment of venous thromboembolism in 2017[20]. In Thomson Reuters list of the World's most influential scientific minds in 2016, McMaster medical school had 9 different scientists mentioned with Prof. Gordon Guyatt mentioned in two different categories.

  • In 2010, McMaster scientists discovered how to turn adult skin cells into adult blood cells[21]
  • In 2015, McMaster scientists discovered how to turn adult blood cells into adult sensory neurons[22]
  • In 2017, McMaster researchers conducted the multinational PURE study, which demonstrated that a low fat diet was associated with a higher risk of premature death, this study was ranked the top article of 2017 by Altmetric[23]
Population Health Research Institute

McMaster's Faculty of Health Sciences is home to 30 research institutes including the:

  • Population Health Research Institute
  • Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health
  • McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute
  • Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
  • Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute
  • Thrombosis & Atherosclerosis Research Institute
  • Escarpment Cancer Research Institute
  • Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care
  • The Offord Center for Child Studies
  • Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences (GERAS) Centre
  • Clinical Research Laboratory and Biobank [CRLB]

McMaster initiated its M.D./Ph.D. program in 2007, accepting up to three students a year into the 7 year physician scientist program.[citation needed]


In 2003, McMaster University Medical School received the largest ever donation to a university in Canadian history when Michael DeGroote donated $105 million to the medical school in the process naming it the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. In 2014, DeGroote donated an additional $50 million to the medical school.[24]

Charles Juravinski has donated over $43 million to Hamilton area hospitals including the Juravinski Hospital. In 2019, the Juravinski's pledged to donate an additional $100 million to the medical school and create the Juravinski Research Centre, funding research in areas including cancer, mental health, lung and respiratory care and diseases of aging.

David Braley, owner of the BC Lions, donated $50 million to the medical school in 2007 to build the Braley Health Sciences Centre, a human embryonic stem cell library and an endowment fund.

In 2011 and 2012, the Boris Family donated a total of $41 million to McMaster University Medical School and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton to found the Boris Family Centre in Human Stem Cell Therapies, establish two chairs in Blood and Neural Stem Cells, found the Boris Clinic, fund alcohol addiction research and buy a surgical robot.

Notable alumniEdit

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Andrew Padmos MD 1972 Canadian physician and CEO of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
Daniel Sauder MD 1975, Prof. Dermatology 1982-1990 Canadian dermatologist and Chair of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, developed the field of cutaneous cytokine biology
Roberta Bondar MD 1977 Canadian astronaut and physician, NASA's space medicine researcher, first Canadian female astronaut, member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
Gordon Guyatt MD 1977, Prof. Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Canadian epidemiologist and physician, coined the term "Evidence-based medicine", member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame [25]
Nancy Fern Olivieri MD 1978 Canadian hematologist, demonstrated the negative effects of deferiprone on the liver
Stan Kutcher BA 1974, MA 1975, MD 1979 Canadian senator and psychiatrist, developed the Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale.
John Cameron Bell PhD 1982 Canadian cancer researcher, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Jennerex
Eric Hoskins BSc 1982, MD 1984 Former Minister of Health in Ontario, founder and president of War Child Canada [25]
Ross Upshur MD 1986 Canadian physician, Director of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics [26]
Richard Heinzl MD 1987 Canadian physician, founder of the Canadian chapter of Doctors without Borders, founder of [27]
James Orbinski MD 1990 Canadian physician, President of Médecins Sans Frontières, co-founder of Dignitas International
Philip Steven Wells Hematology Fellow 1989-1991, MSc 1994, Staff hematologist 1991-1994 Canadian hematologist, created the Wells risk score for pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis
Samantha Nutt MD 1994 Canadian physician, executive director of War Child Canada, winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Richard Whitlock BSc 1997, Cardiac Surgery Residency 2001-2007, Critical Care Fellow 2007-2008, PhD 2012, Associate Prof. 2012-Present Canadian surgeon, performed the first transcatheter aortic valve implantation on a pregnant woman in the world

Notable facultyEdit

In popular cultureEdit

  • In 2018, The magazine Maclean's wrote an article about McMaster's innovative medical curriculum[28]
  • In 2017, On the TV show Amazing Race Canada, it was publicly revealed that Sam Lambert, one of that season's contestants, had been accepted to the medical school in the class of 2020
  • In 2015, McMaster's medical school was part of an eight part international documentary series entitled Canada's New Doctors, by Al-Jazeera and Companion Media and Culture Co. in China, examining the topic of how to best train medical professionals
  • In 2012, McMaster medical students starred in a one-hour documentary by OMNI Television called M.D(iversity)[29]
  • In 2009, The Rick Mercer Report filmed a segment about McMaster University, visiting the medical school to see its new clinical skills models
  • In 2004, The magazine Saturday Night published a report on PBL and McMaster Medical School's innovative curriculum

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ "History of the School of Medicine". Faculty of Health Sciences. McMaster University. Archived from the original on October 7, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  2. ^ "Clinical, pre-clinical & health 2018". THE. Times Higher Education. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Top 50 Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health Universities". Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012. TSL Education Ltd. October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  4. ^ "McMaster University Undergraduate Medical Program Class of 2017" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Canadian Medical Education Statistics 2016" (PDF). Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Rosenberg, William; Donald, Anna (April 29, 1995). "Evidence based medicine: an approach to clinical problem-solving" (PDF). BMJ. 310: 1122–6. doi:10.1136/bmj.310.6987.1122. PMC 2549505. PMID 7742682. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  8. ^ a b Cochran, William B. Spaulding ; with the collaboration of Janet (1991). Revitalizing medical education : McMaster Medical School, the early years 1965-1974. Philadelphia: B.C. Decker. p. 235. ISBN 1556642814.
  9. ^ "Tour of the Facilities". Faculty of Health Science. McMaster University. 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Index_new".
  11. ^ "Problem-Based Learning Curriculum A Success For Medical School".
  12. ^ "IPPT Home Page -".
  13. ^ Barrick MR, Mount MK. The Big 5 personality dimensions and job performance: a meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology 1991, 44:1-26.
  14. ^ Hofmeister M, Lockyer J, Crutcher R. The multiple mini-interview for selection of international medical graduates into family medicine residency education. Med Educ. 2009 Jun;43(6):573-9.
  15. ^ "Home".
  16. ^ a b "McMaster University Undergraduate Medical Program Class of 2017" (PDF).
  17. ^ "Match Report 2016" (PDF). CaRMS. CaRMS. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  18. ^ Frketich, Joanna. "McMaster searching for new dean of health sciences". The Hamilton Spectator. The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Top 40 Hospitals in Canada" (PDF). Research Infosource. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  20. ^ "The American Society of Hematology and McMaster University Announce Partnership to Develop Clinical Practice Guidelines on Venous Thromboembolism". American Society of Hematology. American Society of Hematology. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Blood created from human skin". CBC. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Blood turned into nerve cells by Canadian researchers". CBC. CBC. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  23. ^ "TOP 100 ARTICLES 2017". Altmetric. Altmetric. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  24. ^ "$50 million gift will mean even greater heights for Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine". Daily News McMaster. Daily News McMaster. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  25. ^ a b Philip W. Anderson Archived November 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Ross E. G. Upshur". University of Toronto. University of Toronto. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  27. ^ "RICHARD HEINZL '87". McMaster University. McMaster University. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  28. ^ McIntyre, Catherine. "Physician, teach thyself: Medicine at McMaster". Maclean's. Maclean's. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  29. ^ "McMaster medical students starred in TV show". McMaster University. McMaster University. Retrieved 13 August 2015.

External linksEdit