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Clinical Scholars Program

This program was established to provide an extra period of time for specialized post certification training for selected individuals. During the interval, the applicant will undertake either additional specialized training in clinical procedures or formal research training at the Masters or Doctorate level. In some cases the appointees have joined the full-time faculty following their Clinical Scholar year. This category of appointment has also been used on occasion to provide research leave replacement.

Basic Regulations and Policies

  • Candidates must be either Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status in Canada (i.e. landed immigrant status) or an appropriate work permit/Visa.
  • They must have successfully completed the requirements for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario or equivalent certification, hold an independent practice licence with appropriate scope from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and have an OHIP provider number and malpractice insurance from the CMPA.
  • A Clinical Scholar is permitted to admit patients only under the care of a designated hospital staff member. However, admitting privileges may be granted to certain scholars who are certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or by the College of Family Physicians on the recommendation of the Chief of Hospital Department.
  • The appointment is usually for one academic year (July 1st to June 30th) and can be renewed for a subsequent academic year(s). Appointment for less than one academic year will usually on June 30th. However, the clinical scholar will not be eligible for benefits since eligibility for benefits is restricted to appointments of one year in duration or longer.
  • Remuneration provided is comprised of a base salary and a draw on professional earnings or ceiling payment. Rates are set annually at July 1. The total remuneration of the Clinical Scholar is determined by the academic Department in accordance with the clinical practice plan. The total income of the Clinical Scholar is benchmarked against the PAIRO scale where the Clinical Scholar’s total compensation should exceed their last year of residency training. It is also benchmarked against the total compensation of an Assistant Professor in the same specialty/subspecialty and their income would not exceed this starting salary. Normally, there is an income progression if the Clinical Scholar is reappointed for a second or subsequent years. Total compensation is negotiated between the Clinical Scholar, their clinical and research mentors, and the University Department Chair. Final approval rests with the Dean and Vice-President, Health Sciences. The minimum base salary is $10,000 per annum and is funded through the Clinical Practice Plan. In many cases, the salary is recovered from the AHSC Alternative Funding Plan. If the candidate has an external research fellowship or other source of research support, then the base salary will be increased to include that amount and the ceiling adjusted to maintain the negotiated total compensation.
  • Required OHIP earnings are established for each Clinical Scholar, and decisions with respect to guaranteed ceiling payments and/or eligibility for incentive payments are made at a departmental level.  In several instances candidates have been awarded Fellowships to support their additional year of training. If an external Research Fellowship award is received, the base salary becomes the amount of the Fellowship, the ceiling the difference between the established total remuneration and the Fellowship.  In selected disciplines (Pathology, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Pediatrics), the clinical activities of the scholar may be funded from a non-OHIP source such as an alternate funding plan and/or HRLMP. In this event, the appropriate adjustments will be made to the Salaries and Earnings Schedule to recognize the source of clinical earnings. 
  • Fringe benefits from the University will be limited to those normally offered for a one-year appointment and are usually funded from the Clinical Practice Plan. These are group coverage for major medical insurance plan, life insurance, salary continuation and long-term disability. Excluded is participation in the pension plan. Participation in the dental care plan and/or the voluntary Personal Accident Insurance Plan is optional. The premium(s) is paid by the Clinical Scholar.
  • In addition to salary, a professional development allowance of $1,000 per year is normally provided for travel, professional books or memberships funded by the clinical earnings of the clinical scholar.
  • The scholar will be a member of Regional Medical Associates (RMA) and will participate in the Allowed Business Expense (ABE) of RMA in the form of parking expenses at sites of clinical responsibility, paging services, annual licensing costs with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Canadian Medical Protective Association. The cost of the ABE package is recovered from the clinical earnings of the clinical scholar. Note that initial registration fees with the Ontario and Royal College are not covered, only the annual dues.
  • The program is intended to be self-sustaining financially, i.e. clinical revenues accruing in the scholar’s name for the period of the appointment should be sufficient to cover total costs of the appointment. These clinical revenues should be new RMA revenues, which would not otherwise be realized by current full-time faculty members.
  • Secretarial needs of the scholar must be met from within the existing clerical/secretarial complement at the appointee’s base institution, or the scholar must agree to generate the clinical revenues required to hire additional secretarial time.
  • Recommendations for appointment are submitted to the Dean/VP Health Sciences for the approval of the Council of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at the May meeting.
  • The Clinical Scholar must apply for medical staff membership and privileges at the relevant hospital(s) either Hamilton Health Sciences or St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton in addition to completion of the appointment package for the University appointment. At least three months is required for hospital approval of this application.
  • Clinical Scholars are eligible to enroll in the AHSC AFP alternate funding plan as a participating physician.
  • As per the Yellow Document, time spent as a Clinical Scholar may be used to adjust the academic start date for tenure and promotion should the individual become a full-time faculty member in the future.

Note: CLINICAL SCHOLAR reference in current HHS By-Laws (March 2007):

“Clinical Scholars” means Physicians who wish an additional period of specialized post-residency training involving clinical care and academic pursuits. Appointment to the hospital medical staff will be granted in conjunction with an appropriate Faculty of Health Sciences appointment. When credentialed, they are usually privileged under the LOCUM [Clinical Scholar] staff category in the Hospital.

Instructions to Sponsoring Faculty Supervisor

If you wish to recommend a candidate for a Clinical Scholar appointment, please contact Dr. Karen Saperson (x36659;, Associate Chair Education.

  • Location of the scholar’s clinical work and confirmation that the required clinical time and facilities are available. It is essential that approval be obtained from the Division Director (McMaster University), the Service Head (host hospital), the CEO or VP Medical (host hospital), and the Department Chief (host hospital). The signed application form must be sent to the Department Chair who will subsequently recommend the appointment to the Dean/VP.
  • A detailed estimate of projected clinical revenues and a statement of assurance that the scholar’s clinical work will be a net addition to RMA billings and not a re-allocation from the billings of yourself or another RMA member (See No. 9 on the attached Faculty “Regulations and Procedures for Appointment of Clinical Scholars”).
  • A statement indicating whether adequate space and secretarial support is available (See No. 10 on the attached Faculty “Regulations and Procedures for Appointment of Clinical Scholars” - Appendix B).
  • A description of the academic (research, education) and clinical activities for the scholar and the name of the clinical and research mentors.
  • A copy of the candidate’s curriculum vitae (in McMaster format).
  • Evidence of external funding (re CIHR research fellowship or internal AFP funding or internal research funding).  Indicate relevant university account numbers on payroll forms.
    If the proposal is considered viable and is accepted, it will then be submitted to the Dean/VP for the next agenda of Council of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine for approval.

This form must be completed and submitted to the Office of the Department Chair not later than April 15 each year.

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