MED SCHOOL 101: U of T Faculty of Medicine Open House

"What is Medicine at University of Toronto like?" 

"How do medical students learn?"

"Is Medicine the program for me?" 

The Faculty of Medicine Open House has been a longstanding tradition that gives prospective students a glimpse into the Undergraduate Medical Education curricula. It differs from a standard professional program fair, however, by emphasizing concepts that 1st year medical students learn instead of admission requirements. The event will feature a keynote speech from Dr. Ritika Goel on the important issue of physician advocacy, as well as an interactive case-based seminar by current medical students. Please check out our 'ITINERARY' to find out more!

To register, please visit our REGISTRATION page.


Special thanks to Justin Lam for the use of his photos on this website. 



Vision & Goal


As medical students, we have been taught to think comprehensively about how we can provide the best care, and it means providing much more than just medical expertise. What this translates into for the undergraduate medical curriculum is that we are taught more than pathophyioslogy, we are also thinking about how to communicate and advocate for the patients we will have, and perhaps how to research and innovate to improve the healthcare system. These are skills that we ourselves were not regularly taught in undergraduate studies, and so we wished to bring this aspect of medical education to the Faculty of Medicine Open House. We pride ourselves on this type of multidisciplinary learning and we hope that we can inspire attendees to think broadly as well. 



About the Coordinators

From left to right: Karen Wong (Class of 1T7, 2014-2015 coordinator), Jane Liao (Class of 1T7, 2014-2015 coordinator), Jeremy Zung (Class of 1T6, 2013-2014 coordinator) 

Missing: Alison Craik (Class of 1T6, 2013-2014 coordinator) 


Each year, two second-year medical students are chosen by the Medical Society (University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine student government) to be Open House co-coordinators. We work in conjunction with the Office of Admissions and Financial Services as well as the Office of Health Professions Student Affairs to organize two Open Houses a year. 



MED SCHOOL 101 is a full-day event that will run approximately from 9:00AM - 3:00PM. The day has been designed to provide attendees with a fresh perspective of what to expect from University of Toronto undergraduate medical education. We, as current second-year students, believe that there is a heavy emphasis on the admissions requirements and process, with much less opportunities for students to explore what undergraduate medical education involves. 



9:00 - 9:30AM – Registration

9:40 am – Keynote speech on "Physician advocacy & future of Canadian healthcare" (Dr. Ritika Goel)

10:30 am – BREAK

10:45 am – Curriculum talks: Structure of the MD and MD/PhD programs at UofT 

  • Dr. Marcus Law, Duputy Director of Preclerkship & Director of Academic Innovation
  • Dr. Robert Chen, Acting Associate Dean, Physician Scientist Training (MD/PhD)

11:45 – Student Video: “The Preclerkship Experience @ UofT”

12:00 - 12:50PM – Lunch & Learn 

  • Mix and mingle with current students as well as representatives from Office of Admissions and Financial Services and Office of Health Professions Student Affairs

1:00 pm – "How do doctors think?" (Breakout sessions)

  • Explore concepts in Clinical Medicine by working through a medical case with the guidance of current medical students
  • Learn corresponding clinical skills and diagnostic tests 

Problem-based Learning

"PBL, as it is known today, originated in the 1950s and 1960s. It grew from dissatisfaction with the common medical education practices in Canada (Barrows, 1996 and Neufeld and Barrows, 1974). Nowadays PBL is developed and implemented in a wide range of domains. In spite of the many variations of PBL that have evolved, a basic definition is needed to which other educational methods can be compared. Six core characteristics of PBL are distinguished in the core model described by Barrows (1996). The first characteristic is that learning needs to be student-centered. Second, learning has to occur in small student groups under the guidance of a tutor. The third characteristic refers to the tutor as a facilitator or guide. Fourth, authentic problems are primarily encountered in the learning sequence, before any preparation or study has occurred. Fifth, the problems encountered are used as a tool to achieve the required knowledge and the problem-solving skills necessary to eventually solve the problem. Finally, new information needs to be acquired through self-directed learning*. It is generally recognized that a seventh characteristic should be added: Essential for PBL is that students learn by analysing and solving representative problems."

Problem-based Learning (PBL) is a vital component of the University of Toronto undergraduate medical curriculum. Preclerkship students spend up to 4 hours a week in PBL sessions, and variable amount of time researching the learning objectives that the group has determined for that week. One of our faviroute things about PBL, as current students, is its ability to introduce students to realistic scenarios, where physician trainees must think about the disease in the context of the patient. 

The goal of this NEW afternoon session is to introduce attendees to the concept of PBL by way of a student-designed and student-facilitated medical case. Attendees can expect to learn about: 

1. How can you make sense of symptoms from what you know about the body? 

2. How do you come up with a likely diagnosis? 

3. How do doctors work with other health professions to provide comprehensive care? 

4. What is public health and what are some public health measures a patient can take? 

5. How does a patient's social history (including socio-economical status) affect his/her health?

*Attendees will NOT be required to do any research outside of this seminar, unlike PBL seminars employed by medical schools. 

About the Keynote Speaker


Dr. Rikita Goel is a family physician and activist in Toronto. She completed medical school at McMaster University, residency at St. Michael's Hospital at University of Toronto and a Master of Public Health at Johns Hopkins. Her clinical work is based in Toronto's inner city with people experiencing homelessness with the Inner City Health Associates. She serves as the Lead Physician at the Inner City Family Health Team and is a volunteer physician at the Scarborough Community Volunteer Clinic for the Uninsured. 

Dr. Goel has been involved in various social justice causes since medical school. She works on issues related to poverty and homelessness, support for a publicly-funded, not-for-profit healthcare system, access to healthcare for the uninsured and progressive immigration policies. She has organized with groups such as Health for All, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, Medical Reform Group, Students for Medicare and is the current chair of the Ontario College of Family Physicians' Poverty and Health Committee. Dr. Goel is a regular media contributor to the Huffington Post Canada, Healthy Debate, her own blog and on Twitter - @RitikaGoelTO. Dr. Goel believes advocacy is fundamental to her work and a key way for healthcare providers to improve the health of our patients and society.