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Issue One - April 18, 2003

History of FAIMER

As part of its ongoing commitment to promote excellence in international medical education, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) established the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) in September 2000. As a non-profit foundation of ECFMG, FAIMER provides an infrastructure and resources, human and financial, to support programs, projects, and research that enrich international medical education by linking medical education and the healthcare needs of populations. The Foundation’s activities focus on a common theme: the promotion of excellence in international medical education.

The Foundation administers a number of programs for the international medical community that were formerly administered by ECFMG. These programs include the:

The Foundation also supports the FAIMER Institute. For detailed information on FAIMER, and its programs and resources, refer to the FAIMER website or to the FAIMER 2002 Annual Report. To request the FAIMER 2002 Annual Report, please send your name and address to: meded@faimer.org.

FAIMER Fellowship Programs

The FAIMER Institute

The FAIMER Institute is designed for international medical school faculty who have the potential to play key roles in improving medical education at their schools. The program serves two main purposes, to: (1) provide participants with the tools and skills to serve as resources for their individual institutions, and (2) create an environment for cross-cultural exchange of medical educational expertise and experiences. The ultimate goal is to improve the health of local communities by improving medical education programs. The program helps Fellows develop curricula uniquely appropriate to their own medical schools and communities.

The one-year program, which begins in October, includes two residential sessions in the United States and an intersession project at the Fellow’s home institution. Program Co-Directors, William P. Burdick, M.D. and Page S. Morahan, Ph.D., along with faculty of the Institute’s academic partner, the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and other invited faculty teach education methods, leadership skills, and development of professional relationships among participants. A problem-based approach is employed for many sessions, using participant projects as a starting point for discussions, followed by participant-centered sessions staffed by experts to address specific issues.

Participants develop knowledge and skills in a wide range of educational concepts, such as problem-based learning, adult learning theory, lecturing, and use of computers in education. Other educational topics in the curriculum include clinical skills teaching and assessment, faculty development, student assessment, laboratory use, educational materials, and audio-visual techniques.

Fellows also learn methods for effective organizational leadership and have significant opportunities to network with educational leaders from around the world in the field of medicine and other specialties. Leadership skills addressed include personal leadership style assessment, program evaluation, project management, conflict management, governance structure, strategic planning, and use of web-based tools for communication.

The program’s unique emphasis on development of professional networks is encouraged through its residential setting, use of small group learning and discussion, and informal sessions designed to introduce participants to world leaders in medical education. Collaboration among Fellows in the intersession period and after the conclusion of the program is facilitated by web-based communication tools. When Fellows return for their second residential session, they meet the incoming Institute Class. These opportunities for interaction between classes of Fellows create a network of international medical educators which contributes to improvement of medical education around the world.

The FAIMER Institute Classes of 2001 and 2002 include Fellows from the following institutions:

Aga Khan Medical College (Pakistan)
Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore (India)
De La Salle University College of Medicine (Philippines)
Ege University (Turkey)
Moi University (Kenya)
National Medical University (Mongolia)
Seth G.S. Medical College (India)
Tbilisi State Medical University (Georgia)
Universidad de Chile (Chile)
Universidad de Los Andes (Chile)
Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (Argentina)
Universidade Federal do Ceara (Brazil)
Universiti Malaya (Malaysia)
Universiti Sains Malaysia (Malaysia)
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
University of Ibadan (Nigeria)
University of Lagos (Nigeria)
University of Stellenbosch (South Africa)
University of Transkei (South Africa)

Selection for the Institute is highly competitive. Detailed information about the Institute, including the application process, is available on this website.

International Fellowships in Medical Education (IFME) and the Short-Term Exchange Fellowships (STEF)

The International Fellowships in Medical Education program allows faculty from schools of medicine abroad to gain access to educational opportunities in the United States that are tailored toward specific home country needs. Fellows study aspects of medical education that have the potential to improve and expand medical education programs in their home country institutions. Programs range in length from six months to a maximum stay of one year.

The Short-Term Exchange Fellowships program is designed to strengthen and support the initial fellowship experience of former ECFMG Fellows. FAIMER offers short-term exchange opportunities to selected Fellows and their U.S. Mentors. Programs range in length from one to three months. Requests for proposals are solicited on a yearly basis. Please visit our website for additional information on the IFME and STEF programs.

FAIMER Resources and Activities

International Medical Education Directory (IMED)

The International Medical Education Directory (IMED) was developed and is maintained by FAIMER to provide an accurate and up-to-date resource on international medical schools that are recognized by the government agencies in the countries where the medical schools are located. For most countries, this agency is the Ministry of Health.

A medical school is listed in IMED after FAIMER receives confirmation from the Ministry of Health or other appropriate agency that the medical school is recognized by the Ministry or other agency. FAIMER also updates the International Medical Education Directory as information about medical schools is received from Ministries of Health or other appropriate agencies.

The initial version of IMED, released in April 2002, listed the medical school name, address, telephone and fax numbers, title of medical degree awarded and graduation years, which are the years the school is recognized by the government of the country where the school is located.

The current, enhanced version of IMED contains additional information, including but not limited to, the name of the university with which the medical school is affiliated (if applicable), the school’s website address, and former official names of the medical school (if applicable). Users may search by various fields, including geographic region, country, name of medical school or affiliated university, and the city where the school is located. Detailed search instructions are provided on the website.

IMED may be accessed on the FAIMER website.

Research Activities

In mid-December, staff sent surveys to 246 Fellows who have completed fellowships in the former Foreign Faculty Fellowship Program in the Basic Medical Sciences (FFFP) and International Medical Scholars Program (IMSP), and the current IFME and STEF programs. The purpose of the survey is to:

The survey included questions on employment, national and international career activities and achievements, and an overall assessment of the fellowship experience. To date, approximately 80 former Fellows have responded. A second request will be sent in late-April to those who did not respond. If you are in contact with a participant of the former FFFP or IMSP, or the current IFME programs who did not receive a copy of the survey, please have the participant contact Shirley Williams as soon as possible (see Contact Information).

Those who have responded to the survey so far gave their fellowship experience an overall rating of "Satisfied" and "Very Satisfied," and would recommend the current FAIMER fellowship programs to their colleagues.

Staff is also working on a survey for U.S. medical school faculty who mentored ECFMG and FAIMER Fellows.

Research is also being conducted on physician migration. Using information gathered when applicants request permanent validation of their ECFMG Certificate, as well as scores from the ECFMG Clinical Skills Assessment, potential differences in ability between ECFMG certified graduates who obtained residency positions and those who did not were investigated.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research
3624 Market Street, 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2685


FAIMER Institute: Lisa Johnson, Program Manager
Email: faimerinstitute@faimer.org; Voice: 215-823-2213; Fax: 215-386-3309

IFME and STEF Programs: Shirley Williams, Manager
Email: ifme@faimer.org; Voice: 215-823-2105; Fax: 215-966-3121

IMED: Carole Bede, Senior Research Analyst
Email: imed@faimer.org; Fax: 215-386-9767

Research: Danette McKinley, Ph.D., Research Scientist
Email: meded@faimer.org; Fax: 215-386-2321
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[last update: July 5, 2006]