In the Spotlight: INCLEN Trust and FAIMER Sign Memorandum of Understanding

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A Memorandum of Understanding between FAIMER and the International Clinical Epidemiology Network Trust International (INCLEN Trust) was completed in June 2007. This memorandum expresses the organizations’ mutual commitment to engage in projects focused on research in medical education, faculty development, and the creation of data resources for and about international medical schools. By way of this agreement, FAIMER and INCLEN Trust intend to partner together in addressing issues and conducting activities related to international education and research.

INCLEN Trust is a non-profit organization that seeks to strengthen health care systems and improve health practices globally by providing professionals in the field with the tools to analyze the efficacy, efficiency, and equity of interventions and preventive measures. Targeting local, national, regional, and global health care needs, the organization’s goal is to improve the health of disadvantaged populations by promoting equitable health care through its global network of health professionals, by conducting collaborative interdisciplinary research on high-priority health problems, and by educating future generations of leaders in health care research. INCLEN Trust has Executive Offices in New Delhi, India, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its global network consists of seven regional networks: CanUSACLEN, ChinaCLEN, Euro-Mediterranean CLEN, INCLEN-Africa, INCLEN-Southeast Asia, IndiaCLEN, and LatinCLEN. These seven regional networks are made up of over 1,500 members, representing 79 clinical epidemiology units that span 33 countries.

In signing this Memorandum of Understanding, FAIMER and INCLEN Trust hope to initiate cooperation in the areas of capacity building and targeted research. This collaboration is designed to capitalize on the broad expertise and network of international contacts built separately by each organization, with the aim of enhancing the activities of both organizations and better achieving their common goal of improving health in regions of greatest need. The objectives of the collaboration will initially include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • development of educational programs for educators, especially in developing regions of South Asia, Latin America, and Africa, with the goal of improving the integration of knowledge of local community health needs and health professions education;
  • strengthening the capacity of both organizations’ networks; and
  • development of common proposals for initiating educational programs and targeted research, and exploration of funding opportunities for this purpose.

Karolinska Institute Workshop

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Interactive teaching in a multi-cultural context was the theme of a two-day workshop at the Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm conducted by Bill Burdick, Associate Vice President for Education, FAIMER, and Jonas Nordquist, Director, Medical Case Center, KI, during the first week in June. Engaging adult learners in discussions that push them to their frontiers of knowledge is a challenging, but essential role for educators. It values and uses the knowledge they bring to the endeavor of learning, and allows them to move to areas of authentic interest and concern, while recognizing the vulnerability of adult learners. The challenge of discussion leadership is even greater when participants are from different cultures. Through a combination of case discussions, appreciative inquiry, and personal project discussions, participants developed strategies for achieving this ambitious goal.

Workshops in Assessment Held at Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST)

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Prof. Wajih M. Owais, President of Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST), John Norcini, Ph.D., and Ara Tekian, Ph.D
(left to right) Prof. Wajih M. Owais, President of Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST), John Norcini, Ph.D., and Ara Tekian, Ph.D., conferring over collaborations.

In May 2007, a two-day workshop was held at Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) that focused on assessment in the medical school. The agenda for the workshops was developed in collaboration with the Dean of the medical school and the topics addressed included 1) the mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise (mini-CEX), 2) the structured oral examination, 3) setting standards, and 4) the assessment of professionalism. Ara Tekian, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medical Education and Director of International Affairs in the Department of Medical Education, University of Illinois at Chicago, and John Norcini, Ph.D., FAIMER President, conducted the workshops.

Approximately 40 JUST medical school faculty members attended the workshops, representing all of the basic and clinical departments as well as the administration. The workshops included large and small group discussions, role playing, and analysis of videotaped examinations. Throughout the small group sessions, participants were given the opportunity to apply their newly acquired concepts in their own environment and reflect on their applicability and usefulness.

During the two days, the participants were encouraged to ask questions about these or other relevant assessment topics in both the undergraduate and postgraduate arenas. Participants were also given an opportunity at the end of the workshop to reflect and develop an action plan for both the short and the long term.

Improvements in the assessment system at JUST might have a positive influence well beyond the medical school. JUST is one of the leading institutions in Jordan and advances are likely to be noted by others in the region.

As a side benefit of the workshop, the faculty met with the Jordanian Medical Council and presented information on assessment in the postgraduate setting.

(posted June 11, 2007; updated March 17, 2008)

FAME Course to be Held at AMEE Meeting

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Fundamentals of Assessment in Medical Education (FAME), a basic-level course on educational assessment, will be introduced at the next Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) meeting August 25-29, 2007 in Trondheim, Norway. FAME targets individuals who are members of medical faculties and who are likely to be relatively new to teaching and assessment. Persons who have assumed new responsibilities for assessment are also likely to benefit from the course. FAME is designed around two complementary dimensions, five assessment themes (Test Design; Test Material Development; Standard Setting; and Scoring, Analysis, and Reporting) and four assessment frames (Assessment of Knowledge and Reasoning, Assessment of Clinical Skills, Assessment of Workplace Performance, and Assessment of Programs).

The course schedule will include one and one-half pre-conference days consisting of plenary and small group sessions. Small group work will be organized around the four frames listed above, culminating with faculty facilitators preparing a conference itinerary for the participants in each of the frames. During the AMEE conference, faculty and participants will meet daily over lunch to review sessions attended. At the conclusion of the AMEE conference, faculty will sum up the course experience, address remaining questions from participants, and discuss possible future study.

For registration information, visit the AMEE website or access the AMEE 2007 Provisional Programme PDF.

(posted April 2, 2007; updated May 17, 2007)

International Opportunities in Medical Education

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FAIMER, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the Global Health Education Consortium (GHEC, formerly the International Health Medical Education Consortium) have joined together to collect information about international activities at U.S. and Canadian allopathic medical schools.

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Call for Papers from the Journal of the International Association of Medical Science Educators

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The Editorial Board of JIAMSE (Journal of the International Association of Medical Science Educators) and the Publications Committee of IAMSE have announced the initiation of a new addition to the JIAMSE supplemental issues. The new project, “Innovative Ideas in Medical Education,” is actively seeking submissions for short (no more than 350 words) descriptions of innovative techniques in medical education.

Also added to the supplements will be one or two monographs per issue. The monographs will be longer articles on a specific subject of general interest to medical educators or “how to” papers (i.e. professionalism education, research methods in education, lecture techniques). Monographs will be actively solicited. Potential authors are also encouraged to contact the Editor-in-Chief of JIAMSE, Uldis Streips – unstre01@louisville.edu – with proposals for monographs. Submitted manuscripts will be peer reviewed prior to publication. For additional information regarding JIAMSE, please go to www.jiamse.org; additional information regarding the association can be found at www.iamse.org.

Postgraduate Medical Education Directory Coming Soon

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In early 2007, a new resource will be available on the FAIMER website. A Postgraduate Medical Education Directory (PMED) will provide information on formal medical education beyond the basic medical school curriculum on a country by country basis.

For each country, the directory will provide:

  • A narrative overview of PME,
  • listings of the medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties,
  • the duration of training, and
  • the number of training programs and positions available.

There will also be information regarding:

  • oversight of training programs,
  • methods of application and selection, and
  • examinations leading to registration, certification, and/or licensure.

Other categories of data will also be provided, including:

  • listings and links to professional medical, educational, and oversight organizations, and
  • articles and references regarding PME.

The directory should provide valuable information to a variety of users. Medical educators can compare PME in their country with other countries around the world, assessing equivalency of training. Data in the directory could serve as a stimulus for refinement or implementation of elements of PME based on models in place in other countries. Researchers and policymakers in the area of medical workforce could also find this information quite useful. Students and junior doctors seeking particular specialty training could determine where training is available and gain knowledge of the admissions and selection processes.

Compilation of all this information is a work in progress and will continue to be so once PMED is available.

FAIMER continues to seek individuals to contribute to PMED. To provide the kind of data and information that will appear in PMED, contributors must have broad knowledge of PME at the national level within their country. Individuals who believe that they may have the appropriate knowledge of PME in their country can actually participate in this effort right now by using this link to complete an on‑line survey. This survey data will be reviewed and, once verified, added to the growing database.

There is a special need for individuals who can provide narrative descriptions of their country’s PME. If you feel that you could help in this area, contact the PMED developers at inquiry@faimer.org.

4th Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference (APMEC) February 8-11, 2007, Singapore

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Following the overwhelming success of the past three APMECs, the Medical Education Unit, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, will once again be organizing and hosting the 4th APMEC from February 8-11, 2007 at the National University of Singapore, Singapore.

The theme for the 4th APMEC is Outcomes in Medical Education – Trends, Issues, Priorities, Strategies. Several world renowned medical educators have accepted invitations to speak and run workshops at the conference.

The National University of Singapore reports that, as in past years, this conference has attracted considerable local and international participation, with 350 to 400 medical educators from and beyond the Asian region expected to attend.

Early bird conference registration closes on November 15, 2006. For more information, please visit the conference website.

Medical Education in Iran Undergoing Reform

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FAIMER President John Norcini pictured with conference attendees
John J. Norcini, Ph.D., (seated, 4th from left) pictured with conference attendees.

Medical education in Iran is moving towards curricular reform and competency-based postgraduate medical education. As part of this reform, FAIMER President, John J. Norcini, Ph.D., received an invitation from the Council for Graduate Medical Education of Iran to run a series of workshops on assessment.

In July 2006, faculty from universities of medical sciences throughout Iran attended a week long conference held in Tehran. Also in attendance were Dr. Mohagheghi, Deputy Minister for Educational and Student Affairs of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education; Dr. Einollahi, Chair of the Council for Graduate Medical Education; and a number of other important educational authorities.

Dr. Norcini conducted five workshops on key issues in assessment for participants who were members of Curriculum Development Committees and Chairs of the medical specialties Boards of Examiners. He also conducted three plenary sessions for faculty from Tehran University of the Medical Sciences and Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences. The Ministry of Health and Medical Education also attended the plenary sessions.

Meetings to discuss possibilities for collaboration were held with Dr. Larijani, President of Tehran University of the Medical Sciences; Dr. Hosseini, Vice-Chancellor for Educational Affairs, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences; and other representatives from both universities.

Dr. Norcini noted that workshop attendees were knowledgeable, committed to high quality assessment, and enthusiastic (see picture) and that, going forward, there is a good basis for collaboration in a wide range of areas.

Travel to the conference was funded by the Joint Program Review Mission of the World Health Organization. Drs. Zali, President of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, and Hosseini, Vice-Chancellor for Educational Affairs, provided the facilities for the conference.