As our residency program evolves, we will bring new tools, technology and a variety of digital formats to the table to address some of these ever-growing landscapes of medical education.

Through a large, multi-disciplinary team of software developers, UX/UI design specialists, graphic designers, software engineering students, medical students, and faculty members, we are working towards delivering new learning methods. We are developing more advanced online learning platforms that are modular with skill testing questions, to break-up the learning, test your understanding of the subject matter, and allow you to learn at your own pace and time of day. 

We are also exploring taking your education from this world to the virtual world. Immersive learning engages all your senses and provides some of the highest knowledge retention, while increasing collaboration and empathy. Acting as an additional tool to leverage in your teaching or learning environment, virtual reality has the capability to deliver health benefits to the end user as well. It can allow you to escape your actual world and relax in a fantasyland and give your mind a break. It can be used to help those suffering from anxiety and depression by allowing them to face their issues in a safe and controlled environment while receiving some help from the virtual counsellor in there with you. 

While we continue to develop and study these topics, we look forward to your input on their future development and implementation.

Contamination Control & Spread

In partnership with Ottawa based, PropelVR and DFM’s PMO team of coop students an introductory, immersive virtual reality (VR) experience has been built to demonstrate how VR can be leveraged to teach and learn concepts outside of traditional methods.

Walk the virtual school’s hallway and playthrough interactions to learn how contaminates can be transmitted and subsequently controlled in our everyday exchanges.

Product Owner: Dr. Douglas Archibald, Jeffrey Puncher

Hallway with lockers

DFM's Dragons’ Den

The Department of Family Medicine is looking for innovative individuals or teams to participate in our annual “change” contest. Each year the contest will address a different primary care or education-based issue that three selected finalists will have their chance to present their ideas to our VIP panel.

The contest was proposed by Dr. Clare Liddy, department Chair, in the interest of crowdsourcing ideas that could innovate or address common issues facing the Family Medicine community. The winning team from each event will take home a monetary prize and receive publication financial support from the DFM.

Escape the Office: a virtual reality escape room on Quality Improvement

Escape the virtual reality office with your team of 4, using the principles of QI. Only by collaborating and working together to solve the puzzles will you make it out!

Teaching QI in this fun and interactive way will not only increase knowledge retention but will improve communication skills.

Desk with computer hands and virtual reality headset

In partnership with Ottawa based, PropelVR and DFM’s PMO team of coop students, the virtual reality game was developed to address the pressing need to engage learners in a practical but entertaining approach to teaching QI methodology. While allowing the opportunity for teamwork and communication, your team of 2 to 4 people can test your knowledge of QI concepts through a series of ten puzzles aimed at SMART criteria, Benchmarking, Root Cause analysis, run charts and more!

Product Owner: Dr. Kheira Jolin-Dahel

Bookshelf with ladder

Femoral 2.0

Femoral is the Department of Family Medicine’s database designed to manage the academic and administrative records that connect our learners, faculty, preceptors, and staff members. This database has been developed by DFM software developers to meet our unique needs and will be undergoing a review process over the coming months to replace the existing capacities of the database with enhanced features to meet the needs of our department, now and in the future.  

If you are interested in learning more about the development process for Femoral 2.0, check out our Information Session and Working Group recordings for the Femoral project.  

For any questions on Femoral 2.0, please contact Kendra Stapleton at [email protected]

Femoral database logo

My Medication Records Application

In partnership with DFM’s PMO team of coop students, the mobile application formerly known as the MyMedRec has undergone an initial revamp to conduct a randomized controlled trial to further identify ways of improving the app. The application will be tested for usability and improved further, based on participants' feedback.

The application is a portable up to date health record that can be easily shared with your family, doctor, nurse, pharmacist or anyone else involved in your healthcare. It keeps track of the medicines that you and your family members are taking and many other elements related to your health. Use it to remind you when to take a dose and when to refill your prescription. With the My Medical Records Application, you can store all of your important health information in one easily accessible, user friendly place.

Product Owner: Dr. Mohamed Gazarin, Dr. Kheira Jolin-Dahel

My Medication Records Application Diagram

Socially Accountable Primary Care

Socially accountable medical care - where learners and faculty members truly understand the impact they can have on marginalized communities internationally and within Canada - is a strategic priority of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine. In a series of online modules, incorporating adult learning principles, our socially accountability looks to fill curriculum gaps in primary care

Diverse people in different health states standing around maple leaf.

Two areas have been identified initially: 

1. The provision of primary care in and around the long-term care setting (1 module)

  • Module One: Understanding Long Term Care in Ontario

The Covid-19 pandemic laid bare the unique challenges providing care to such a vulnerable population, particularly during a public health crisis. While caring for patients in their homes is a tradition in family medicine and forms part of our current curriculum, the long-term care setting is often not seen as providing care in a patient's home. The College of Family Physician of Canada is specific about addressing this in its Core Professional Activities:  CPA 24. Provide primary care for patients with complex medical needs in their homes, long-term care facilities, and other community-based settings. This case based module, seeks to demystify the long-term care setting and addresses how patients and their families make the decision and journey to enter long term care in Ontario, the organization and delivery of long term care and the role of the family physician in the long- term care setting. Given the richness of this subject matter, future case-based modules are planned and in development. 

Screenshot of Understanding Long-Term Care module

2. The impact of racism on patient outcomes and medical education (4 modules)

  • Module One: Race and Racism in Canadian Healthcare- A Primer

  • Module Two: Race, Society and Healthcare

  • Module Three: Putting it All Together- Racism as a Social Determinant of Health

  • Module Four: Anti-Racism Faculty Development Primer- Medical Faculty Confronting Racism in our Clinical, Professional and Teaching Spaces

Screenshot of Race and Racism in Canadian Healthcare module

We endeavour to help learners and faculty incorporate anti-racist beliefs into their worldview and practice of family medicine. This series was created with the Core Professional Activity 9 from the College of Family Physicians in mind: Provide medical care that challenges systemic racism and supports health equity with/ for Indigenous peoples* and other racialized or underserved patient communities.

Concepts of race and systemic racism, intersectionality, individual discrimination and biases will be investigated in a Canadian context; leaving learners equipped with actionable steps. Compelling conversations with leaders and contributors from across the country, coupled with opportunities for reflective learning, the learner will be guided through their journey of becoming anti-racist.

Product Owner: Dr. Denice Lewis, Curriculum Director & Assistant Professor

Under Pressure: VR Scuba for Stress & Anxiety Management

Family Medicine faculty members, medical students and learners from all backgrounds can use this VR application as a pedagogical tool for producing a safe environment to teach about stress and anxiety. Through the lens of therapeutic scuba diving, this immersive virtual reality (VR) application will provide a psychoeducational experience for faculty and student learners across Ontario and equip them to understand the causes and treatments of stress and anxiety – while providing them with the tools and strategies to manage these emotions.

Scuba diver

The success of the initial prototype of the VR Scuba for Self-Management of Stress and Anxiety will be expanded through a partnership with the University of Alberta and funded by the Government of Alberta to develop a VR prototype for the Self-Management of Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI) in First Responders and Emergency Healthcare Workers. This customized VR application will be piloted with first responders and emergency healthcare workers in Alberta and Ontario to understand the psychological support and benefits of this learning on PTSI in alleviating symptoms, thereby improving mental health outcomes.

Overall, this intervention aims to educate users how to cope and manage their PTSI to empower them in their own care and well-being.

We invite any first responder and/or emergency healthcare worker in Ontario to participate in this research study.

Product Owner: Dr. Douglas Archibald, Jeffrey Puncher

For any questions on the Under Pressure VR experience, please contact [email protected]
Learn more, visit Under Pressure: VR Scuba for PTSI 


It’s widely known that there is a mental health crisis in Canadian universities. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, young people aged 15-24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance abuse than any other age group. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made these statistics worse. While the entire world struggled with the virus, students also had to face virtual learning and deal with the financial toll of school during a pandemic. StatsCan has reported that those aged 15-24 have had the most significant mental health decline during COVID-19. These findings are a huge concern and part of the reason why uOttawa started the uoResilience project.

The project’s goal is to address stress and student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s attempting to build mental health wellness and resilience across the uOttawa campus by utilizing peer-to-peer support, case management for at-risk students and amplifying communications to get the word out to the campus community. The Wellness Lounge is the focal point of the project. Led by peer educators, the Wellness Lounge is both a physical and virtual space available to all students. Its purpose is to provide a safe, welcoming space for students to feel supported, learn wellness skills and stay connected to their peers. Peer educators are there to listen, support and direct students to any on or off-campus resources they may need.

uOttawa Wellness Lounge VR Headsets
Photo credit: uOttawa Wellness Lounge

The Department of Family Medicine has played an important role in this project and has worked closely with the Wellness Lounge. The DFM led the technology work package for the project, researched options available to the Wellness team and suggested solutions such as virtual reality headsets for wellness activities. The department delivered seven Oculus 2 headsets to the lounge on September 24th and participated in the official unboxing event and setup. The headsets will be available to all students in the lounge for free, as a tool to alleviate stress and anxiety. Three headsets will be used for physical activity games, while the other two will focus on immersive meditation games.

The physical space is open for students to drop by Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the virtual lounge is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. More information is to come on when and how students can book the virtual reality headsets.

Instagram: @uohealth.uosante