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CMSA hosts first ever Registrar Representatives’ Indaba

Posted: 2022-08-24 08:00

Professor Eric Buch
Chief Executive Officer

The CMSA hosted a Registrar Representatives’ Indaba via Zoom on 25 July 2022. This was the first CMSA webinar for registrar representatives and supports the CMSA’s ongoing commitment to transparency and improved communications with all Stakeholders. “We recognized that a holistic approach to communicating with candidates would have to include initiating communication with registrars from the beginning of their journey to becoming specialists.” said Prof Eric Buch, CEO of the CMSA. “A need was identified for effective two-way communication to not only introduce registrars to the CMSA and its examination processes, but also to hear from registrars regarding concerns they may have and support they may need prior to applying for a CMSA examinations.”

Historically, the CMSA only communicated with the registrars once they registered as candidates for the CMSA examinations. In the 66 years of the CMSA, there has been some engagement with the registrars, for example via registrars’ groups, but there has always been a concern that information does not cascade down to the thousands of registrars across the country. It has not proved to be an efficient way of communicating and consulting with the registrars and the CMSA believes it would be mutually beneficial to create two-way communication channel in advance to applying for an examination and that there is a need to establish a channel to facilitate communication.

The Indaba, open to national and university-based registrar representatives from all disciplines and all universities, was very well received and supported with 95 registrar representatives from 24 disciplines and nine universities attending. Registrars thanked the CMSA for the progressive initiative to create a platform to give them a voice.

Professor Johan Fagan

Professor Johan Fagan, President of the CMSA delivered a highly informative and comprehensive presentation on the structure of the CMSA, the rapid evolution in examination processes over the past two years and the vision for the CMSA examination structure going forward. Professor Buch familiarized the attendees with the CMSA and the first steps of applying for CMSA Examinations. He also presented a brief overview of the ongoing evolution of the CMSA examination format towards Workplace Based Assessment (WBA) to support a continuous commitment to improving the quality, reliability and standardization of the CMSA examination. Workplace Based Assessment is the first of a three-phase process of assessment envisioned, where clinical competence is assessed by the relevant University, before registrars enter CMSA examinations. The CMSA and the South African Committee of Deans (SACOMD) has formed a joint steering committee to guide the process. Professor Lionel Green-Thompson, Dean at the University of Cape Town (UCT) is the chairperson for the committee and all universities have two representatives serving on the committee. Professor Buch concluded with a discussion about the cost of examinations and examination fees.

Professor Zach Koto
Senior Vice President

The CMSA suggested that there should be an ongoing process of communication with registrars, and this was supported by the attendees. The formation of a Registrars’ Forum was encouraged consisting of one representative per discipline, one per university and one representative from existing registrars’ bodies. The CMSA management would be happy to meet with such a Registrars’ Forum as the need arises, and an annual registrars’ indaba could be held with all registrars from all universities and disciplines. The presentations were followed by an open question and answer section in which all the CMSA panelists participated.

“This is the first Registrars’ Indaba that the CMSA has held,” said Prof Zach Koto, Senior Vice-President of the CMSA. “I obtained my fellowship more than fifteen years ago and the CMSA has never engaged with our registrars before. This heralds a new era for the CMSA as a people’s College and we have arranged this Indaba to share information regarding the CMSA and to listen to the registrars and hear what they have to say.”

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