The Supplementary Emergency Medicine Experience, or SEME, is an innovative program funded through the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and administered through the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. The SEME program is a full-time three month fellowship in Emergency Medicine and presents a learning structure that is practical and relevant. It is designed for physicians practicing comprehensive Family Medicine in smaller and rural communities and provides a unique opportunity for comprehensive skills enhancement in Emergency Medicine.
This program is provided in the spring (April-June) and fall (September-December).
The SEME program was created in 2011 as a pilot program by Dr. Shirley Lee, Dr. Eric Letovsky, and Dr. Howard Ovens, in collaboration with the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) at the University of Toronto and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). The success of the innovative pilot resulted in renewal of the program by the MOHLTC in 2015 for an additional 5 years. The practical training course offered by the SEME Program is the first of its kind in Canada and has been accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
The mission of the SEME Program is to provide family physicians with practical emergency medicine experience to improve patient access to care in rural and semi-rural communities. The SEME initiative was developed in response to significant human resource needs for emergency department coverage in rural hospitals, which had reached a crisis in Ontario. It was recognized that many family physicians practicing in smaller communities wanted to provide emergency care, but that they did not feel they had adequate training to manage critically ill patients.
The SEME Program addresses the specific needs of family physicians wishing to practice comprehensive primary care by:
- providing a practical, condensed adult learner-centred emergency medicine training program that is more feasible for physicians practicing in under-serviced communities than alternate training routes available to family physicians
- addressing potential attrition and burnout among family physicians already engaged in rural EM-based work by providing an opportunity to enhance their acute care skills leading to increased competence, confidence, and interest in providing emergency medicine care
The SEME Program is centralized and administered by Mount Sinai Hospital’s Emergency Department in Toronto. A key factor in the success of the program is the collaborative teaching efforts of the fourteen University of Toronto affiliated hospital sites and over 300 faculty including emergency physicians, intensivists, anesthesiologists, and trauma surgeons. The fellowship is offered in the Spring and Fall each year with ten learners per cohort. To date, 99 family physicians have graduated from the SEME Program.