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Observations from the Field

Fellows share personal reflections on health professions education, health care, and life around the world.

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Mobeen Iqbal Reflects on Capacity Building and Educational Reform in Pakistan

(posted December 14, 2018)
Mobeen Iqbal, M.B.B.S., M.H.P.E. Mobeen Iqbal, M.B.B.S., M.H.P.E.
FAIMER Institute 2006 Fellow
Visiting Professor of Medicine and Adviser
Al Nafees Medical College
Consultant Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
Shifa International Hospital
Islamabad, Pakistan

I am a FAIMER Fellow from the 2006 batch. I started my formal academic career in 2000 and became involved in educational reforms at Shifa College of Medicine in Islamabad, Pakistan. Evidence-based medicine was the subject of my initial education innovation project, which I developed as a FAIMER Fellow to implement at an undergraduate level at Shifa. The project evolved and subsequently was integrated as part of the epidemiology, family medicine, and clinical clerkships. I stayed at Shifa until 2013 and mentored several faculty members as Associate Dean in Health Professions Education (HPE) and Head of Internal Medicine. Several of my colleagues at Shifa were also awarded FAIMER fellowships during my time there, including Zahra Ladhani (PHIL 2007), Rukhsana Ayub (PHIL 2009), and Riffat Shafi (PHIL 2010). A number of Shifa faculty members completed Master’s programs in health professions education and Zahra went on to earn her Ph.D. in HPE. Our efforts also resulted in further capacity building in ethics and professionalism, a locally tailored professional development program, curriculum evolution with stress on competency-based assessments, and a formal evaluation process. Educational research was promoted and you will find a surge of published educational research on Medline or Google Scholar during this period from Shifa College of Medicine.

In 2013, I moved to Al Nafees Medical College, a newly started project of Isra University, which was just one year old at the time. I led a highly motivated team of professionals who worked with local faculty in building their capacity in education and research. The college had international collaborations, which further facilitated the rapid changes in developing an integrated, systems-based curriculum, a locally made learning management system for students, and assessment. After spending one full year at Al Nafees, I moved on to focus on my private practice in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at a private hospital (Shifa International). Over the next three years my relationship with Al Nafees continued in terms of capacity building efforts in pedagogy, assessment, clerkship teaching, and evaluation. I conducted several workshops at Al Nafees as well as national Association for Excellence in Medical Education (AEME) conferences.

In 2015, I was lucky to be awarded an International Fellowship in Medical Education (IFME) award to pursue my Master’s in Health Professions Education through the FAIMER-Keele program, which I completed in November of this year. As I was going through this process, I realized that the driving engine for change and subsequent leadership in medical education was mostly coming from clinician educationalists and a lot of them were FAIMER Fellows. This led me to focus my Master’s dissertation on professional identity, exploring how the professional identity evolves in clinicians who subsequently decide to pursue a formal degree in HPE. I thought the qualitative exploration through semi-structured interviews might unravel important findings which may have implications at individual, institutional, and national levels. This small phenomenography revealed some important findings which may not be applicable to other contexts, but shed some light on the factors which may better equip clinician educationalists to serve as change agents and leaders in educational reforms in medical education. I am currently working on a capacity building endeavor with a colleague of mine who is a community-based psychiatrist and an activist on mental health issues, especially related to women. This project will focus on building the capacity of teachers linked with health professions with the hope that they can impact education at their institutions.

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[last update: December 14, 2018]