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Study Examines FAIMER Institutes’ Impact on International Health Professions Education

FAIMER’s global faculty development programs have resulted in a vibrant international network of health professions educators and have positively impacted participants’ careers, their higher education institutions, and even the health professions education (HPE) policies of entire countries, according to a recent study conducted by FAIMER and published in the journal Academic Medicine.

FAIMER®, a member of Intealth™, offers global faculty development programs through its flagship International FAIMER Institute and 10 FAIMER Regional Institutes in developing regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The goal of these Institutes is to provide professional development curricula in health professions education and leadership for international health professions faculty who have demonstrated the potential to play a key role in advancing health professions education for improving health at their institutions or within their countries.

FAIMER officials sign certificates
Officials from FAIMER, Makerere University, and Mbarara University of Science and Technology sign ceremonial certificates on May 10 to officially launch the new Eastern Africa FAIMER Regional Institute.

Titled “FAIMER Global Faculty Development: A Sustainable Partnership Model to Advance Health Professions Education,” the article in Academic Medicine was written by Rashmi Vyas, MD, MHPE; Page S. Morahan, PhD; Shiyao Yuan, MS, MSEd; Eliana Amaral, MD, PhD; Vanessa Burch, MD, PhD; Henry H. Campos, MD, PhD; Snigdha Mukherjee, PhD; Jessica Salt, MD, MBE; Avinash Supe, MBBS, MS, MHPE; Marta van Zanten, PhD; and Jeanette Mladenovic, MD, MBA.

“The International FAIMER Institute launched in 2001 and the first Regional Institute opened in 2005, so we now have more than 20 years of data and research that demonstrate the positive impact of FAIMER’s Institutes on the advancement of health professions education throughout the world,” said Dr. Rashmi Vyas, Senior Associate at FAIMER, Lead of FAIMER’s Global Programs, and the article’s primary author. “Our lessons learned will be useful as we and others continue to build global capacity in health professions education in our increasingly interconnected world.”

Participants in FAIMER’s Institutes, known as FAIMER Fellows, submit education innovation projects that are endorsed by their institutions. These projects serve as the focal point for the application of the Fellows’ learning as they work toward implementing their projects at their respective institutions. According to the study, these education innovation projects demonstrate the institutional impact of FAIMER Fellowship programs.

Fellows’ responses to a questionnaire on the impact of their projects show that:

  • 82% reported increased quality of education,
  • 47% reported changes in institutional or departmental policies,
  • 45% reported increased relevance of education,
  • 49% reported that their projects had been institutionalized,
  • 36% reported that their projects had been replicated,
  • 33% reported that their projects had been expanded to address additional objectives.

Many Fellows have also become leaders in health professions education, achieving national recognition and reaching positions of leadership on national boards and committees. They have also contributed to the global development of health professions education as a discipline.

“These Fellows have helped define HPE as an academic discipline through significant contributions to research in the field, the development of new HPE journals in India and Africa, and the founding of academic societies devoted to HPE,” according to the article.

Perhaps the greatest impact of FAIMER’s Global Programs is in India, which is home to four FAIMER Regional Institutes (FRIs) and more than 40 percent of all FAIMER Fellows. The FRIs in India have played a central role in implementing the national faculty development initiative in medical education mandated by the National Medical Commission (NMC). In total, 18 FAIMER Fellows in India are convenors or co-convenors at all 22 medical schools that are NMC-recognized regional and nodal centers that offer the required basic or advanced faculty development courses. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic that halted in-person instruction at Indian universities, Fellows were “instrumental in leading their institution’s pivot to online teaching, learning, and assessment. Fellows led over 50 webinars and trainings throughout India to help faculty teach and assess online.”

As for the future, Dr. Vyas said FAIMER is committed to expanding access to health professions education in Africa, through starting new FRIs to serve different regions. On May 10, FAIMER launched the Eastern Africa FAIMER Regional Institute in collaboration with Makerere University College of Health Sciences and Mbarara University of Science and Technology. In addition, FAIMER will leverage partnerships with FRIs to launch new curricula to enhance quality improvement and workforce development.

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