Each year at the FAIMER Institute in Philadelphia, a day is devoted to exploring a key theme in international medical education (IME). This year, IME Day focused specifically on the interaction between academic institutions and governments in “Human Capacity Building in the Health Professions.” On October 22, approximately 80 participants from 15 countries took part in discussion and high-engagement group activities centered on the academic and governmental relationships in four countries: Brazil, India, Pakistan, and South Africa. Each of the countries was represented by health care experts from both government and health professions education. They included:
|Brazil:||Henry Campos, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Vice Rector, Universidad Federal do Ceará, and Co-Director of the Brazil-FAIMER Regional Institute. Dr. Campos represented both the government and health professions education points of view.|
|India:||Abraham Thomas, M.S., M.A.M.S., M.Ch., Professor, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Microsurgery, and Director, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana
Vedprakash Mishra, M.D., Vice Chancellor, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences University, Nagpur, and Vice Chair, Academic Cell, Medical Council of India
|Pakistan:||Jamsheer Talati, M.B.B.S., Professor of Surgery and former Associate Dean for Education, The Aga Khan University
Ahmed Nadeem Akbar, Registrar, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council
|South Africa:||Beth Engelbrecht, M.D., Deputy Director General, Western Cape Provincial Department of Health
Wynand van der Merwe, M.B.Ch.B., M.Med., M.D., Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University
FAIMER’s Associate Vice President for Education and Co-Director of the FAIMER Institute, William Burdick, M.D., M.S.Ed., encouraged participants to explore pragmatic strategies for aligning government and health professions education to address health care challenges, especially those involving faculty development and capacity building. Ideas included setting up low-risk meetings between education and government officials to encourage dialogue; pooling resources and exploring opportunities for joint funding of needed programs; using FAIMER Regional Institutes as a meeting ground for stakeholders; integrating the training of different types of health care workers; training health care workers at the local level; and aligning academic research, data gathering, and data presentation with the requirements of government to obtain funding and support for needed programs. An important theme throughout the discussion was that a common vision for health care improvement, shared by government and health professions education, can drive change and bring about needed improvements.
In addition to the representatives from the four focus countries, participants in IME Day included Fellows and faculty of the 2008 and 2009 FAIMER Institutes, staff members from FAIMER and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), and other guests, including ECFMG President Emeritus and FAIMER Senior Scholar James A. Hallock, M.D.; Director of the Division of Graduate Medical Education of the American Medical Association, Paul H. Rockey, M.D., M.P.H.; and FAIMER Directors Philip L. Gildenberg, M.D., Ram R. Krishna, M.D., Donald O. Nutter, M.D., and Sharon Wood-Dauphinee, Ph.D.
Feedback from the day was very positive. Participants were impressed by the range of ideas that could be generated in a single day through focused, cross-cultural exchange. In a closing panel discussion, the representatives from the four countries each expressed gratitude for the opportunity to learn different approaches from the others, which they could take back to their own regions and use to improve the coordination of government and health professions education in efforts to improve health care.