FAIMER President John Norcini Announces Retirement

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FAIMER President John NorciniJohn J. Norcini, Ph.D., President and CEO of FAIMER, has announced that he will retire effective July 1, 2019. Dr. Norcini became FAIMER’s first president in May 2002, and has established numerous worldwide initiatives and programs in medical education, research, and data resource development during his 16-year tenure.

William W. Pinsky, M.D., President and CEO of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and Board Chair of FAIMER, said an international search for Dr. Norcini’s successor will begin immediately.

“John’s dedication to FAIMER’s mission, his energy, and his broad vision have positioned FAIMER as a leader in the promotion of excellence in international health professions education through programmatic and research activities,” Dr. Pinsky said. “ECFMG’s and FAIMER’s board, staff, and partners are proud to share in John’s legacy.”

Dr. Norcini played an instrumental role in the development of FAIMER’s fellowship programs for health professions educators that include the FAIMER Institute, FAIMER Regional Institutes, and the International Fellowship in Medical Education (IFME)–a program originally sponsored by ECFMG, which transitioned to FAIMER in 2001. He championed the alignment of these programs with each other to create an educational pathway that allows international health professions educators to become outstanding local resources for improving health professions education.

Under Dr. Norcini’s supervision, the FAIMER Distance Learning program has flourished, offering health professions educators the knowledge and skills to advance health professions education at their institutions to the highest international standards. Since 2013, he has served as Co-Director of the FAIMER-Keele Master’s in Health Professions Education: Accreditation and Assessment program, conducted in partnership with Keele University and the Centre for Medical Education in Context (CenMEDIC); and he serves as lead faculty for the newly launched FAIMER-Gulf Medical University joint Master in Health Professions Education program.

Dr. Norcini has overseen FAIMER research activities in the broad domains of the international migration of physicians, United States physician workforce issues, and international medical education programs. FAIMER also designs and conducts studies focused on international health professions education, including the quality of medical schools and their graduates, international accreditation, licensure, and certification processes. FAIMER frequently conducts these investigations in collaboration with other institutes and researchers, and aims to inform policy makers in government, academia, and various other interested organizations.

FAIMER has also made significant strides in achieving its goal of building information resources on medical education worldwide under Dr. Norcini’s leadership. He has overseen the development of the Directory of Organizations that Recognize/Accredit Medical Schools (DORA), directories of master’s and doctoral programs in health professions education, the Postgraduate Medical Education (PME) Project, and the World Directory of Medical Schools—a resource created and maintained in collaboration with the World Federation for Medical Education.

Dr. Norcini received several awards and honors, including the 2014 Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education for his pioneering research on knowledge decay, specialty certification, and the development of new methods of assessment. In 2009, he received the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) John P. Hubbard Award for his commitment to excellence in medical education, his rigorous pursuit of high standards in scholarship, his broad and prolific publications and presentations history, and his tireless work on behalf of FAIMER. Dr. Norcini’s accomplishments in the field of assessment are considered both wide-ranging and pioneering.

Dr. Norcini has served on the editorial boards of seven peer-reviewed journals in measurement and medical education, has lectured and taught in nearly 50 countries, and has published extensively. He has served on countless committees contributing to the fields of education, assessment, and research.

Before joining FAIMER, Dr. Norcini spent 25 years with the American Board of Internal Medicine serving as Director of Psychometrics, Executive Vice President for Evaluation and Research, and Executive Vice President of the Institute for Clinical Evaluation. He earned his bachelor’s degree from LaSalle University and his doctorate from Bryn Mawr College.

John Norcini Is Awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners

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FAIMER President and CEO John Norcini receives Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)FAIMER President and CEO John Norcini, Ph.D., was honored to receive an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) on May 15, 2015. The RCGP is the professional membership body and guardian of standards for family doctors in the United Kingdom, which works to promote excellence in primary health care. Fellowship is the highest level of membership granted by the RCGP, and is awarded in recognition of a significant contribution to medicine—particularly general practice/family medicine.

John Norcini Is Awarded a Gold Medal by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties

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FAIMER President and CEO John Norcini, Ph.D., was honored to receive a gold medal from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS), in recognition of his services to medical and postgraduate education. The medal was awarded during the 2nd SCFHS International Conference, held April 11-13, 2015, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The SCFHS is the organization responsible for supervising and evaluating training programs, issuing professional classification certificates for health care practitioners, qualifying trainees, and setting controls and standards for the practice and development of health professions in Saudi Arabia. Its aim is to meet international standards by improving professional performance, developing and encouraging skills, and enriching scientific theory and practice in the health professions.

John Norcini Is Awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Educators

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Academy of Medical Educators (AoME) logoFAIMER President and CEO John Norcini, Ph.D., was recently awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Educators (AoME) during an Awards Ceremony at the Annual Academic Meeting of the AoME on October 22, 2014, at The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom. Honorary Fellowship is the highest award of the AoME and is bestowed upon individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to both medical education and to the Academy.

FAIMER-Authored Article Is Subject of Recent Key Literature in Medical Education (KeyLIME) Podcast

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An article authored by FAIMER President John Norcini and several other FAIMER staff members was the subject of a recent Key Literature in Medical Education (KeyLIME) podcast by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The article, titled “The Relationship Between Licensing Examination Performance and the Outcomes of Care by International Medical School Graduates,” appeared in the August 2014 issue of Academic Medicine. The 20-minute podcast can be accessed on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada website.

John Norcini Is Awarded the Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education

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FAIMER President and CEO John Norcini, Ph.D., has been selected to receive the 2014 Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education for his important contributions to research in medical education, especially his pioneering research on knowledge decay, specialty certification, and the development of new methods of assessment.

Dr. Norcini will receive the award and a prize amount of €50,000 at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 17.

This international prize is awarded for outstanding research in medical education. The purpose of the prize is to recognize and stimulate high-quality research in the field and to promote long-term improvements of educational practices in medical training. “Medical” includes all education and training for any health science profession. The prize is made possible through financial support from the Gunnar Höglund and Anna-Stina Malmborg Foundation. It is currently awarded every second year.

“Professor Norcini’s research output is consistently of the highest originality and quality, and his empirical work has improved the practice of medical education around the globe. His work has had a widespread, positive impact on the research and practice of medical education and has resulted in many subsequent studies by other researchers. He is one of the key contributors to the entire field of research in medical education,” says Professor Sari Ponzer, Chair of the Prize Committee.

For more information, please read the full press release.

FAIMER and King Abdulaziz University Sign Agreement to Develop MHPE Program

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FAIMER President John Norcini, Ara Tekian, Osama Tayyeb, Mahmoud Al-Ahwal, and Adnan Al-Homaidan at King Abdulaziz University
Pictured left to right: John Norcini, Ara Tekian, Osama Tayyeb, Mahmoud Al-Ahwal, and Adnan Al-Homaidan

On December 16, 2012, FAIMER and King Abdulaziz University (KAU) signed an agreement to develop a Master’s in Health Professions Education (MHPE) program. According to the terms of the agreement, FAIMER and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) will assist the KAU Faculty of Medicine in the development of a MHPE program aimed at preparing leaders in health professions education. The signing ceremony took place at KAU and was attended by FAIMER President and CEO Dr. John J. Norcini, FAIMER faculty member and Associate Dean of International Affairs at the UIC College of Medicine Dr. Ara Tekian, KAU President Prof. Osama S. Tayyeb, Dean of KAU Graduate Studies Dr. Adnan Al-Homaidan, and Dean of the KAU Faculty of Medicine Dr. Mahmoud Al-Ahwal.

Omayma Hamed Wins Best Oral Presentation Prize at 2012 Saudi International Medical Education Conference

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FAIMER faculty members and Fellows at the 2012 Saudi International Medical Education Conference: Ara Tekian, John Norcini, Omayma Hamed, Wagdy Talaat, Ayhan Caliskan, and Huseyin Cahit Taskiran
FAIMER faculty members and Fellows at SIMEC 2012, from left to right: Ara Tekian, John Norcini, Omayma Hamed, Wagdy Talaat, Ayhan Caliskan, and Huseyin Cahit Taskiran

Omayma Hamed (PHIL 2011) of King Abdulaziz University won the Best Oral Presentation Prize at the 2012 Saudi International Medical Education Conference (SIMEC 2012), which took place April 22-26 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Hamed’s presentation, co-authored by Adnan A. Al-Mazrooa and Mahmoud S. Al-Ahwal, was titled “A Structured Assessed Longitudinal Procedural Skills Training Course in the Undergraduate Medical Curriculum Can Predict Residents’ Performance.”

SIMEC 2012 brought together educators from around the world to discuss recent innovations, trends, and research in health professions education. The goals of the conference were to:

  • Exchange best practices and experiences with international experts in health professions education
  • Explore the current and future challenges in health professions education
  • Strengthen the relationships among multidisciplinary health professionals

Also participating in the conference were FAIMER President and CEO John Norcini; FAIMER faculty members Wagdy Talaat (PHIL 2007), Huseyin Cahit Taskiran (PHIL 2003), and Ara Tekian; and FAIMER Fellow Ayhan Caliskan (PHIL 2008).

Dr. Norcini served as a member of the SIMEC 2012 Advisory Committee, conducted a pre-conference workshop on “Assessment in the Workplace,” and delivered a plenary address titled “Medical Education as a Vehicle for Improving Healthcare.” Dr. Talaat co-conducted a pre-conference workshop on “Accreditation in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Revisiting the Practice and Basic Concepts” and served as a panel discussant in a symposium on “Accreditation and International Dimensions of Medical Education.” Dr. Tekian organized a workshop on “How to Integrate and Measure the ACGME Core Competencies at the Undergraduate Medical Education Level” and gave a presentation titled “Does Faculty Development Develop Faculty” as part of a symposium on “Innovations in Medical Education.” Drs. Norcini, Talaat, and Tekian each received an award for their invaluable contributions as honored international guest speakers at the conference.

Study Finds Non-U.S. Citizen International Medical Graduates Provide Same Quality of Care as Physicians Educated in the United States

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Internationally trained physicians are key members of the U.S. physician workforce. The United States has not produced enough nationally educated physicians to meet the country’s health care demands for some time, and internationally trained physicians have made up for this shortfall, comprising approximately 25% of the total U.S. physician workforce. Despite a rigorous certification process, questions have persisted concerning the quality of care that these physicians provide. A new study, published in the August issue of Health Affairs and authored by a team led by FAIMER President and CEO John Norcini, examines the performance of internationally trained physicians compared to their U.S. counterparts, and addresses those concerns:

“Evaluating the quality of care provided by graduates of international medical schools” (Health Affairs, 29(8):1461-1468)
John J. Norcini, Ph.D., FAIMER President and CEO
John R. Boulet, Ph.D., FAIMER Associate Vice President for Research and Data Resources
W. Dale Dauphinee, M.D., FAIMER Senior Scholar
Amy Opalek, M.S., FAIMER Data Resource Specialist
Ian D. Krantz, M.D., Member, FAIMER Board of Directors and Chair, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Board of Trustees
Suzanne T. Anderson, Trustee-at-Large, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Board of Trustees

The study analyzed 244,153 hospitalizations of patients with congestive heart failure or acute heart attack in Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2006. Patients were treated by physicians who specialized in family medicine, internal medicine, or cardiology. Each physician fell into one of three groups: U.S. medical graduates, U.S. citizen international medical graduates, and non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates. The composition of physicians in the study closely matched that of the total U.S. physician workforce: Approximately 75% of the 6,113 doctors were U.S. medical graduates, with the remaining 25% educated abroad. Of the physicians educated abroad, approximately 75% were non-U.S. citizens and 25% were U.S. citizens.

The study examined both mortality rates and hospital lengths-of-stay as indicators of the quality of care that physicians provide. Among the three groups, in-hospital death rates differed significantly. Non-U.S. citizen international graduates were associated with a 16% decrease in mortality relative to U.S. citizen international graduates and a 9% decrease relative to U.S. graduates. Patients of U.S. medical graduates had the shortest hospital lengths-of-stay, while patients of U.S. citizen international graduates had the longest. The length-of-stay of patients of non-U.S. citizen international graduates was only slightly higher than that of U.S. graduates, indicating little practical difference.

These results provide a measure of confidence in the care provided by non-U.S. citizen internationally educated physicians and highlight the important contribution that they make to the U.S. health care system. As Dr. Norcini points out, “It is reassuring to know that patients of these doctors receive the same quality of care that they would receive from a physician trained in the United States.” He adds, “These findings bring attention to foreign-trained doctors and the valuable role they have played in responding to the nation’s physician shortage.”

Still, the findings concerning internationally trained U.S. citizens elicit a moment of pause. Why did these physicians fare less well in the study? The authors speculate that some of them may seek their education abroad because they were unable to enter U.S. medical schools due to lower grades and/or test scores. Alternately, the quality of education provided at some of the schools attended by these physicians may be of a lower standard than at schools attended by physicians in the other two groups. There may be other explanations as well, and additional research is warranted. Regardless, as U.S. medical schools expand enrollment to combat the shortage of home-educated physicians, some of the students who might have otherwise gone abroad may apply to medical schools in the United States. If that happens, U.S. schools will need to maintain high admission standards to ensure the quality of the physician pool. Further compounding the issue is a lack of proportionate growth in graduate training programs to complement the expansion of medical schools. As Dr. Norcini points out, “If this continues, the current physician shortages will persist and the numbers of foreign-trained doctors will likely decrease significantly.”

In addition to its findings concerning the three separate groups of medical graduates, the study also provided insights applicable to the general physician population. The authors found that in-hospital mortality rates and hospital lengths-of-stay increase with the number of years following graduation from medical school, whereas specialty board certification was associated with lower mortality and shorter hospital stays. These findings point to the need for ongoing training and periodic assessment throughout a physician’s career to maintain a high level of competence, an important consideration for all doctors, regardless of where they received their education.

2010 Richard Farrow Gold Medal Awarded to FAIMER President John Norcini

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FAIMER President John J. Norcini, Ph.D., was awarded the 2010 Richard Farrow Gold Medal at the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) 2010 Scientific Meeting, “Medical Education: Innovation in a Traditional World,” which took place July 21-23, at Robinson College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom. The Richard Farrow Gold Medal was established to recognize and honor individuals for their contributions to the goals of ASME, which include: promoting high quality research into medical education, providing opportunities for developing medical educators, disseminating good evidence-based educational practice, informing and advising governmental and other organizations on medical education matters, and developing relationships with other organizations and groupings in health care education.