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Q & A with Dr. Robert Boulay, assistant dean, DMNB clinical education


Dr. Robert Boulay (right), family physician and assistant dean, DMNB clinical education. (DMNB photo)

A family physician in Miramichi, New Brunswick for over twenty five years, Dr. Boulay has been involved in medical education since 1996 when he received his first faculty appointment with Dalhousie Medical School. As president of the College of Family Physicians in 2010, Dr. Boulay became intimately involved with family medication education at both the undergraduate and resident levels. In 2012, he took on the role of clerkship director in Miramichi, the pilot site for the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship Dalhousie.

In October 2015, Dr. Boulay was appointed to the newly formed position of assistant dean, DMNB clinical education. Still based in Miramichi, NB where he maintains his position as the clerkship director, Dr. Boulay has been tasked with ensuring students are as prepared as possible to enter the clinical setting in their third year.

As the clerkship director in Miramichi, what did you find was the greatest need in preparing students to enter clerkship?
The students I see are well prepared. In truth, it’s hard to be fully prepared for clerkship. With this position, I now get to see what's in the curriculum in years one and two, which is what goes into preparing the students. I now have a broad view across the clinical education spectrum and use that to identify and make any necessary changes.

You’ve been in this position for almost a year now. What have you found to be the most challenging part of your position? What do you see to be the greatest opportunity?
It’s all been great fun. I’ve been meeting people and getting to know those who make things work. My main objective is to play a greater role supporting our great faculty and staff in their roles. The past year we saw many leadership changes within the medical school, and my goal has been to make sure that people continue to feel balanced, secure and supported from both a faculty and staff retention point of view.

Having distributed education and drawing on the faculty from across all of our provincial sites is one of our greatest opportunities. Our number of faculty has already expanded and I would like to see it grow even more. Nothing would be possible without the great students and dedicated faculty we have across all sites in New Brunswick.

What are your goals for this position and clerkship at DMNB?
My goals are to continue to solidify the traditional clerkship and longitudinal integrated clerkship models in our sites and to continue to deliver a really strong, comparable product in New Brunswick.

What excites you most about this position?
The opportunity to interact and meet new people. When I took on this position, I shifted gears into a more educational role. Even when I was practicing, the favourite part of my day was teaching students and residents. I appreciate the opportunity that has been provided to me to focus my time on medical education. This phase in the growth of DMNB really highlights its maturity as a program. We are now solidifying what we’ve already built. We're making sure that we have a sustainable, strong program that will serve the people of New Brunswick for years to come.