Brian Day suggests that Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) used at UBC, McMaster University, and elsewhere are tantamount to kindergarten play [So you want to be a doctor? BCMJ 2011;53:389].
Moreover, his problematic argument indemnifies the use of MMI for the medical education system’s failure to educate all qualified candidates and the resulting short supply of physicians in Canada. These are two important but different points.
Undoubtedly there is need for an increase in medical school seats. Likely many good candidates remained on this year’s wait lists while others are among the 3500 students training internationally. However, the availability of candidates and need for more seats is no justification for tossing out the MMI.
The MMI helps medical schools find the kinds of people who would be good physicians rather those who simply get high grades in sciences. Being a top student and athlete does not mean one has the communication skills, ethical awareness, or ability to think on one’s feet that it takes to be successful in medical practice. And while being the child of a physician might provide some insight into the work, it makes a problematic, if not nepotistical, selection criterion.
As a non-science background medical student, I bring a different perspective to our problem-based learning tutorials. My arts and social science background helps move discussion beyond anatomy and pathophysiology to include the psychosocial experiences of patients that are just as significant and yet often overlooked.
If the traditional interview process and criteria had remained at McMaster I would not be in medical school today. I am grateful for the insight of past medical educators and administrators who broadened the selection criteria to include students like me.
Yes, I do want to be a doctor. And I think I’m going to be a pretty good one at that.
—Marcus Greatheart, BA (Hon), MSW, RSW
Medical Class of 2014