Faculty representing six of the eight medical schools in South Africa, including five FAIMER Fellows, as well as a FAIMER Fellow from Uganda, representing the anticipated development of an East Africa FAIMER Regional Institute, came together on November 6-7 in Cape Town, South Africa, to discuss plans for a Southern Africa-FAIMER Regional Institute (SAFRI) for health professions educators. Attendees discussed the existing strengths of health professions education in Southern Africa, as well as key areas in which they feel it can be changed and improved. Goals of the Southern Africa-FAIMER Regional Institute, developed by participants at the meeting, will include deepening faculty knowledge and skills in leadership, planning and policy development, program evaluation, student assessment, learning and teaching methods in resource-limited environments, and education research. In addition, an important outcome of SAFRI will be greater funding and promotion of health professions education in Southern Africa.
The Southern Africa-FAIMER Regional Institute is expected to begin in May 2008. Interested individuals should monitor the FAIMER website for additional information, which will be released as it becomes available.
The Ministry of Health in Brazil has signed an agreement to fund the Brazil-FAIMER Regional Institute. Management of the funding will be provided by the Pan American Health Organization. The agreement was drafted after Francisco Campos, Brazil’s Secretary for Health Manpower, attended the planning meeting of the Brazil-FAIMER Regional Institute in May, 2006, and soon after accompanied Bill Burdick and Page Morahan, Co-Directors of the Philadelphia FAIMER Institute, to the GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute in Mumbai. In Mumbai, Dr. Campos observed the Regional Institute in action, and participated in the session on Change Management. Capacity building in health manpower is a priority of the government of Brazil and fits with the recent Pro Saúde Program to increase access to primary health care throughout the country. The experience of Regional Institute development in India will be used to support the development process in Brazil. Further South-South collaboration efforts between South America, Africa, and India are being pursued using the Brazil-Mumbai interaction as a model.
Sixteen new Fellows and 24 returning Fellows met at King Edward Memorial Hospital – Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College (GSMC) in Mumbai, India, from June 13-19, 2006 for the second GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute. One of the highlights was the poster presentation session, a highly interactive day during which returning Fellows presented and discussed the curriculum innovation projects they have been working on since the first session of the Regional Institute last year. Projects included: a survey of teaching methods for cardiopulmonary resuscitation in Maharastra, which found that only 35% of schools used mannequins; a pilot program in problem-based learning; and use of checklists for formative assessment in performance assessment of occupational therapy students. Another highlight was a discussion of concepts related to scholarship and professional advancement by Nilima Kshirsagar, Dean of KEM-GS Medical Center, and Page Morahan, Co-Director, FAIMER Institute. The GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute is under the direction of Dr. Avinash Supe, Professor and Head of the Medical Education and Technology Unit and GI Surgical Unit at Seth G.S. Medical College, and a member of the Institute 2002 class.
Regional Institute Perspectives
Adkoli Balachandra, Observer
Medical Education Unit, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences
Chandrakant Patankar, Faculty
Department of Microbiology, KEM-GSMC
Adkoli Balachandra, Observer
The GSMC-FAIMER meeting gave an opportunity to strengthen our ties, and to look forward. Though I was not directly involved in taking a session, I enjoyed sitting back, observing, facilitating group process and sharing some lighter moments with the group. More than that, I was humbled by the warm hospitality extended by everyone in the GSMC team.
I also learned much from Bill Burdick and Page Morahan to restrain faculty intervention so as to encourage and empower the participants for self-directed learning.
It was a great break from routine, a stress buster, a rejuvenating experience and great fun, and what else is needed?
Thanks for everything. Well done GSMC team!!
Chandrakant Patankar, Faculty
I underwent metamorphosis as an educator over the past year as I worked on the conception, birth and delivery of the GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute. The continuous discussions and deliberations between team members of the two institutions (FAIMER and Seth GS Medical College [GSMC] in Mumbai, India) helped me understand the process of evolving a working partnership between two organisations that are culturally different but inspired by common goal. This on-going cross-cultural experience has enriched my vision of the world.
I joined the Medical Education Technology (MET) unit of Seth GS Medical College & King Edward Memorial Hospital in 1995. MET had been active since 1993, training over 2000 medical school faculty from Mumbai and across the state of Maharashtra (population 90 million), with workshops on management, research, medical sciences, and other education projects. We have experimented with designs and methods for teaching these workshops and training modules through continuous evaluation of our efforts.
The discussions to develop the GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute were goal-oriented and sharply focused on feasibility. Interactions with Bill Burdick, Avinash Supe and my colleagues in the MET unit during this process enabled me to make contributions that became more purposeful and fruitful. I can better appreciate the difference between the desirable and doable objectives. It has also greatly increased my degree of empathy for those doing this type of development.
Use of the GSMC-FAIMER listserv, GSMC Yahoo! discussion group, and WebCT has given me greater expertise in electronic interactions. All these were new to me. As a result of this experience, I have been able to start two additional Yahoo! groups on my own, “medicaleducationunit” for our MET group and “fungushunters” for my colleagues in mycology, both of which are now active electronic discussion groups. The Internet has become a daily part of my professional activities. GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute brought new people, new ideas, new vision and a new dimension to my life. It helped me explore what was within and trained me to acquire and assimilate what was without!
Working with Institute Fellows on their curriculum innovation projects has also been a treasure of learning. Conceptualisation, development and implementation of their education projects through continuous interactions with Institute Fellows and Institute faculty was a new experience. I was introduced to the program evaluation concept of the “Logic Model” for the first time. Discussions with the fellows helped refine my own concepts and thoughts on medical education. I find myself much more confident in dealing with project planning, development, and evaluation. This experience has benefited my work in other areas as well.
Networking with like-minded educators across the country was one of the stated goals of the Institute. Through my role on the Institute faculty, I am part of that envisaged network. Free exchange of useful information across India in the field of medical education has been possible through the Institute. Working with our GSMC-FAIMER Institute Fellows has enhanced my skills of communication, teamwork, fellowship and scholarship. I am pleased that I could contribute to the growth of medical educators in India.
William Burdick, M.D., M.S.Ed., FAIMER’s Director of Education, and FAIMER Institute Faculty Member, Stewart Mennin, Ph.D., traveled to Universidad Federal do Ceara in Fortaleza, Brazil, in May to meet with local medical educators about the upcoming Brazil-FAIMER Regional Institute. The planning session included a number of FAIMER Institute Fellows from South America, including Henry Campos, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., Dean, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Ceara, who will direct the new Institute. The Brazilian Secretary for Health Manpower, the Associate Director of the Brazilian Medical Education Association, and representatives from local medical schools were also in attendance.
The Brazil-FAIMER Regional Institute, expected to begin in February 2007, is FAIMER’s third such collaboration. Regional Institutes in Mumbai, India, and Ludhiana, India, began in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Based on the model of the FAIMER Institute, established in Philadelphia in the United States in 2001, Regional Institutes provide opportunities for international medical school faculty to learn education methods and leadership skills, and to develop professional relationships. Applications to participate in the Brazil-FAIMER Regional Institute will be accepted beginning in the fall of 2006.