The annual conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) took place in Bogotá, Colombia, from September 27 to October 2, 2008. FAIMER staff and Fellows played an active role at the conference. FAIMER staff included John R. Boulet, Associate Vice President for Research and Data Resources, and William Burdick, Associate Vice President for Education and Co-Director of the FAIMER Institute. FAIMER Fellows included Elena Barragan (PHIL 2003), Mary Bermudez-Gomez (PHIL 2007), Ivan Solarte (PHIL 2007), Paulo Carvalho (PHIL 2006), Sarah Kiguli (PHIL 2004), Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde (PHIL 2005), and Samuel Maling (SAFRI 2008).
Prior to the conference, Dr. Burdick led a workshop on educational objectives for the faculty at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. The workshop was conducted to support the work of Drs. Bermudez-Gomez and Solarte, who are leading a major curriculum restructuring effort at the school. Approximately 50 faculty members from the School of Medicine took part in the practicum and worked in teams to create educational objectives and develop related student assessment methods.
On September 27, a pre-conference workshop was held on research methods in medical education. Drs. Burdick and Boulet presented an introduction to research methods along with Dr. Bermudez-Gomez and Donald Pathman, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Education for Health, the peer-reviewed journal of The Network: TUFH, and Professor and Research Director at the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Participants in the workshop then developed research questions relevant to projects at their own institutions, and designed research strategies to address those questions. Participants came from Argentina, Colombia, India, Mozambique, Peru, South Africa, Sudan, and Uganda.
The current issue of The Network: TUFH journal Education for Health, Volume 20, Issue 3 (November 2007), is now available. This marks the third free on-line issue since the journal became electronic in May 2007. The current issue focuses on poverty and human development and includes an article by FAIMER staff members William P. Burdick M.D., M.S.Ed., Associate Vice President for Education and Co-Director of the FAIMER Institute; Page S. Morahan, Ph.D., Co-Director of the FAIMER Institute; and John J. Norcini, Ph.D., FAIMER President; as well as an article by 2003 FAIMER Institute Fellow Charles A. Mkony.
The Network: Towards Unity for Health Annual Meeting took place in Kampala, Uganda in September. FAIMER leaders were among those in attendance. John Norcini, FAIMER President; John Boulet, Associate Vice President for Research; and William Burdick, Associate Vice President for Education and Co-Director of the FAIMER Institute, presented a full-day workshop on changing student assessment. Sixteen participants from sub-Saharan Africa spent the day learning about validity, reliability, standard setting, and new methods of assessment as they considered the best ways to introduce change in their institutions. Sarah Kiguli, a 2004 FAIMER Institute Fellow and chair of the local meeting organizing committee, was elected to The Network’s Executive Council.
The 2007 conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health will be held at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Uganda from September 15 to 20, 2007, in cooperation with the Faculty of Medicine, Makerere University, Uganda. The theme of the conference is “Human Resources for Health: Recruitment, Education and Retention.” The Network states that the primary goal of the conference is to explore ways in which innovative approaches by academic health institutions, through their educational, service, and research missions, in collaboration with community partners, can address the challenges to improve the education, recruitment, and retention of human resources for health.
At the conclusion of the conference, there will be an excursion to Mbarara, Uganda, from September 21 to 23. Participants will visit the Mbarara University of Science and Technology, where they will focus on the educational approach of the Faculty of Medicine.
The Network invites abstracts containing empirical, theoretical, or descriptive studies relevant to the field, as well as proposals for mini-workshops and/or didactic sessions. The deadline for abstracts and proposals is June 1, 2007.
Beginning in May 2007, The Network: Towards Unity for Health will host its journal, Education for Health (EfH), exclusively in electronic format. The journal will be available free of charge to all internet users at www.educationforhealth.net.
The current website for EfH announces themes for two upcoming issues: a special issue in July 2007, which will focus on integration of medicine and public health in practice through a unity of purpose and action; and the October 2007 issue, which will focus on global poverty and human development. The Network is calling for papers for the October issue.
Click here for more information on the July and October 2007 issues of EfH.
The crisis in human resources for health was highlighted at the annual conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH), recently held in Ghent, Belgium (September 9-13), where the conference theme was improving social accountability in education, research and service delivery. Although numerous health-related topics were discussed, the shortage of health professionals, including physicians and nurses in many developing countries was of particular concern. Effective service delivery requires good governance and a system of accountability – one that better manages and balances the global market of health professionals. FAIMER was represented at this meeting by Jack Boulet, Ph.D., Director of Research and Data Resources.
FAIMER staff is currently engaged in several research projects aimed at quantifying the global migration of physicians as well as understanding the underlying reasons for emigration. These activities, in conjunction with various Network resources, can ultimately help to ensure that the global market for health professionals does not deprive poor communities of essential medical services.
Education for Health (EfH) is the journal of Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH). First published in 1988 and originally titled The Annals of Community-Oriented Education, the journal has served as a main source of discussion and dissemination of research and scholarly work related to Network: TUFH mission and objectives. Starting in 2006, with volume 19:1 of EfH, the journal has encouraged submission of manuscripts in five major topic areas:
describe innovative models for the community-based education of health professionals, and research into the effectiveness of these models;
describe models of community-based health care delivery and demonstrate the impact and effectiveness of these models;
describe programs and research on collaborations between academia and health services, with the objective of community health improvement;
describe and demonstrate multi- and interdisciplinary approaches to health professions education and service delivery;
describe models and systems of education, research, and service delivery that link, and have implications for, both developing and developed countries.
The journal specifically encourages papers on community-based health education and research about and from developing countries.
In 2004, EfH obtained status as a Medline journal. This has contributed to an increased number of manuscript submissions over the past two years. This growth and the continued attention to serving the international community related to research and educational evaluation studies has resulted in transitioning to an on-line journal. The new publishing format will allow for open access for all readers, on-line submission, much wider and more rapid dissemination of information, and opportunities for news and article alerts to engage and inform readers.