The University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Medicine is making important changes to its medical doctor admissions approach to draw more applicants who reflect Saskatchewan’s population and ultimately stay to practice medicine here. The changes will be in effect for the next round of applications to the program, which are open from early August to October 1, 2022, with successful applicants starting the program in August 2023.
"We are looking at medical school admissions differently,” said Dr. Trustin Domes (MD), director of admissions for the program. “We’re increasing our efforts to determine if applicants are a good fit for us, and if we are a good fit for them—with the long-term goal of having more Saskatchewan-trained physicians stay here in our province. We also want to address barriers to medical school admission for those who historically have been disadvantaged.”
As the province’s only medical school, the college has a social accountability to the people of Saskatchewan. A core component of that accountability is recruiting and training future doctors who reflect the diversity of the province and who want to contribute to the province throughout their medical studies and beyond. For these reasons, the program places a high value on applicants with current or historical connection to Saskatchewan and/or rural communities.
Over the past few years, the college’s admissions office led a detailed and extensive review that included consultation with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders, and resulted in the revised admissions process that was recently approved through university academic processes. Existing admissions requirements including the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and the multiple mini-interview process will continue. New requirements include that each applicant provide a short written statement outlining relevant past learning, work, volunteer and other experiences, as well as a panel interview.
The college has long had a successful Indigenous admissions stream that will also be enhanced. An Indigenous admissions circle will help increase the number of Indigenous people applying and gaining acceptance to the program, strengthening our college’s response to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. An Indigenous studies pre-requisite will be added to course requirements starting with applications to the program in 2024.