Dr. Anshu always wanted to be a teacher, but her parents had another career in mind for her.
“I come from a family of teachers who know that teachers don’t necessarily live comfortable lives, so they encouraged me to join medicine,” Dr. Anshu said. “Once I finished my MD, it was natural for me to get into academics and begin teaching because it was something I love. So I was going to be a teacher after all, albeit a medical teacher.”
Institution: Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, India
FAIMER Fellow: CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute Fellow 2007, International FAIMER Institute 2009
An accomplished pathologist with a special interest in oncopathology, molecular genetics, and cytology, Dr. Anshu is a Professor at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) in Sevagram, India, and the coordinator of the Institute’s Medical Education Unit.
Dr. Anshu’s introduction to the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), a member of Intealth, was born from her unquenchable thirst for learning that defines her as an educator. She completed the National Teachers Training Course at Pondicherry, India, which she said provided her with the basics of medical education, but felt she needed more. She applied to the Christian Medical College Ludhiana-FAIMER Regional Institute (CMCL-FRI) in 2007 and was accepted, thus beginning a relationship with FAIMER that continues.
Through the CMCL-FRI fellowship, Dr. Anshu developed an education innovation project—the focal point for the application of learning in the Institute—on case-based learning in pathology. The project focused on teaching undergraduate MBBS students to make diagnoses using the minimal number of tests in consideration of the financial burden to patients. The initiative was a success and it is still part of the curriculum at MGIMS.
The CMCL-FRI fellowship also helped Dr. Anshu develop her leadership capabilities and delve into research and scholarship in medical education.
“At the end of the fellowship, I wrote my first paper in medical education, which is one of my most cited papers,” Dr. Anshu said. “It talked about how online faculty development can work, and we followed that up with the second paper, which talked about how to get group dynamics working in the online sessions. So that was the strength of the fellowship program, I would say, that we could actually make people chat and feel like it’s a face-to-face session.”
For most, the challenges of one FAIMER Institute experience would be enough, but for Dr. Anshu, the CMCL-FRI fellowship just fueled a desire for more. She is one of a handful of FAIMER Fellows who have completed both a FAIMER Regional Institute and the flagship International FAIMER Institute in Philadelphia, which she was awarded in 2009. She was also awarded an International Fellowship in Medical Education through FAIMER, which helped her obtain a Master’s in Health Professions Education (MHPE) with distinction from Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
Dr. Anshu currently is a global faculty member for the International FAIMER Institute and serves as faculty for all four FAIMER Regional Institutes in India including the CMCL-FRI, the Seth G.S. Medical College-FAIMER Regional Institute (GSMC-FRI) in Mumbai, the PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research-FAIMER Regional Institute (PSG-FRI) in Coimbatore, and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education-FAIMER Regional Institute (MAHE-FRI) in Manipal.
Dr. Anshu’s reputation as a medical educator goes far beyond the campus of MGIMS and her involvement with FAIMER Institutes. She served as a resource person for the advanced medical education workshops conducted each year by the Medical Education Department of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) in Pune, India, and was on the Board of Studies for Medical Education at MUHS. She also has written online modules for the National Medical Commission and the MHPE program run by the Centre for Medical Education in Context (CenMEDIC) and Keele University. In addition, she has been invited as a guest speaker and resource person for several international, national, and regional medical education conferences and workshops, and has more than 60 publications on pathology and medical education in indexed, peer-reviewed journals. She also edited a book along with Dr. Tejinder Singh, the founding Director of the CMCL-FRI, titled Principles of Assessment in Medical Education, which is now in its second edition. She served as the Secretary of the Academy of Health Professions Educators from 2017 to 2019.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when India’s medical schools had to abruptly pivot to an online education model, Dr. Anshu and several of her FAIMER Fellow alumni stepped to the forefront to lead the transformation.
“We conducted a series of webinars, which were well attended because people looked up to us to teach them how to teach, engage with students, and assess using online settings,” Dr. Anshu said. “We designed a lot of sessions, invited a lot of speakers, and we helped them that way.”
The icing on the cake came with her nomination as President of the Academy of Health Professions Educators for 2022. Dr. Anshu believes that role of the FAIMER family in mentoring her and grooming her with organization, teamwork, and leadership skills has been key to being catapulted from a small town in Central India to the center stage of health professions education in the country.
“I am very grateful to all of my teachers, mentors, colleagues, and friends for this remarkable journey through the last 15 years.”