The 2017 National Conference on Health Professions Education (NCHPE) was held November 7-11, 2017, at Jorhat Medical College (JMC) in Jorhat, India. The theme of the conference was, “Faculty Development: Expanding Horizons…Fostering Change.” The NCHPE provides a platform for key stakeholders in health professions education in India to share scholarship, research, experiences, and educational strategies. Its annual offerings include keynote addresses by renowned speakers with firsthand experience in specialized fields of education, panel discussions led by national experts, and small group work involving faculty from all over India.
The NCHPE has been held nine times between 2007 and 2017, at various locations across India. Originally called the National Conference on Medical Education, the NCHPE was soon expanded to include all health professionals and is now an annual event. This year’s conference was especially notable, as it was held for the first time in the eastern region of India. This part of India has ample medical colleges, but there is less focus on faculty development in health professions education when compared with the rest of India.
The Academy of Health Professions Educators (AHPE) was formed as a result of the NCHPE, and has organized the conference since 2009. AHPE is a national non-governmental organization of health professionals who have interest in the development and advancement of health professions education in India. The core purpose of AHPE is to improve the standards and quality of health professions education in India at all levels—undergraduate, postgraduate, and continuing professional development—in alignment with the goals of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) and the South East Asia Regional Association for Medical Education (SEARAME).
A number of FAIMER Fellows and faculty members serve in leadership roles for AHPE and the NCHPE—including Dr. Thomas Chacko (PHIL 2004), Director of the PSG-FAIMER Regional Institute, who currently serves as AHPE’s President. Dr. Anshu (CMCL 2007, PHIL 2009) and Dr. Nirmala Rege (PHIL 2015) serve, respectively, as AHPE’s Secretary and Treasurer. Dr. Purnima Barua (CMCL 2015) served as organizing secretary of NCHPE 2017, and says that the conference has been a turning point in the field of health professions education in the region. “It has been instrumental in sensitizing the faculties, bringing them to the mainstream, and opening opportunities for networking,” she shares. “The conference has also helped strengthen the Medical Education Unit of JMC and provided an opportunity to all of its members to display their organizing and team work skills.” Dr. Barua notes that support from state government officials from the Directorate of Medical Education and the Department of Health and Family Welfare was instrumental to the success of the conference, which was also attended by key representatives of the Medical Council of India.