Brett Schrewe

Study program:
Educational Studies
Current affiliation:
University of British Columbia

Brett Schrewe (educational studies, University of British Columbia) is drawing upon the history and design of medical education to re-imagine physician training with the goal of realizing the Canada Health Act’s inherent promise of health equity.

Doctoral research

Turning Canadian medical education inside-out: Medical citizenship in the service of health equity

The Canada Health Act is dedicated to “maintaining and improving the health and well-being of Canadians”. Yet ours is a diverse country in which people live in a wide spectrum of socioeconomic conditions; these underappreciated contextual factors may significantly impact individuals’ health. Although medical education programs include content to help professionals-in-training address these factors, they remain secondary pedagogical pursuits with their transformative potential largely untapped.

To invert this relationship, my research looks to elaborate a novel disposition of physician as medical citizen. I am using genealogy to consider how social accountability, medical professionalism and health advocacy discourses emerged in medical education, how we might incorporate them as the basis of this disposition and how an overemphasis upon physicians as medical experts might fragment their promising effects. As such, I intend to re-position medical expertise to ensure that health care is equitably delivered to all, irrespective of the circumstances of each.

Brett Schrewe is a doctoral student in educational studies at UBC whose research sits at the intersection of his work as a consultant pediatrician and medical education scholar. The current medical education system produces physicians with a core identity of medical expert, while areas of social accountability, medical professionalism and health advocacy remain secondary pursuits. His doctoral studies use historical and discursive approaches to investigate the grounds by which we might invert this relationship, looking to elaborate a concept of physician as medical citizen that situates medical expertise in service to health equity for all Canadians irrespective of social, cultural, economic and geographical background. 

He received his MDCM from McGill University and undertook the first three years of pediatrics residency at the Montréal Children’s Hospital, co-creating health information sessions for refugee claimants newly arrived to Canada. At UBC, he finished his pediatric training, completed a clinical educator fellowship at the Centre for Health Education Scholarship and obtained an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Anthropology/Educational Studies) that examined how medical students construct professional identities through conversational interactions on rounds.

Currently, he is a UBC clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, works in a neonatal ICU in Surrey and regularly teaches medical learners in Vancouver and Victoria. He also works in northern Manitoba and Iqaluit, creating a literacy project through the pediatrics clinic in the latter to protect and promote Inuktitut. He regularly publishes in the health professions education field in areas of curriculum design and professional identity formation and is involved in endeavours to establish a national organization bridging medical humanities and health professions education. He is a board member of RésoSanté Colombie-Britannique and the UBC faculty representative for the national FrancoDoc collaboration, working to increase French language health services capacity to better serve the province’s growing minority Francophone community.