The Medical Council of India (MCI) has upgraded the designation of six of the schools in its nationwide faculty development program from regional center to nodal center. Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, home to the CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute, and Seth G.S. Medical College, home to the GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute, have both been upgraded to nodal centers. Under the MCI plan, the regional center designation provides approval for conducting a three-day basic education workshop, while the nodal center designation provides approval for conducting the basic workshop as well as an advanced course in medical education. Participants who have completed the basic education workshop will be eligible for the advanced course, which will emphasize self-learning and foster mentoring relationships among medical educators. Programming is still under development, but the basic structure for the advanced course will model the FAIMER fellowship program. Tentatively, the course will be 12 months in duration and include two sessions, each consisting of one week of on-site instruction followed by six months of distance learning. As part of the course, participants would design an educational innovation project and implement it at their home institution.
In July 2010, the Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India (MCI) convened two Working Groups, one each on undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) medical education, in an effort to develop a roadmap for achieving targets set forth in its “Vision 2015” statement on improving medical education. The Working Groups were tasked with assessing the present status of medical education, comparing the current situation with global trends and needs, and developing appropriate strategies for achieving reforms in both education and practice. Medical educationists from throughout India with the “vision and expertise” to address these issues were invited to participate, including FAIMER faculty members Payal Bansal (PHIL 2007) and Rita Sood (PHIL 2005), and Director of the GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute Avinash Supe (PHIL 2002). Dr. Bansal served on the UG Working Group; Drs. Sood and Supe served on the PG Working Group.
The groups met over the course of three weekends, taking part in day-long meetings that included much intense discussion and brainstorming. Each group prepared a report, submitted to MCI for review and implementation, with recommendations for both short- and long-term reform and restructuring within an overall timeframe of 10 years. Areas addressed in the reports included admissions, curriculum, examinations, the supply of and demand for doctors, and continuing professional development. Dr. Supe indicated that FAIMER principles and methods were useful in developing ideas proposed in the groups’ recommendations. He added that the meetings were a great experience and a welcome opportunity to contribute to the improvement of medical education in his country.
In support of the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) nationwide faculty development initiative, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), Karnataka has announced plans to build a satellite-based virtual classroom network that eventually will include 78 of the university’s affiliated medical and dental institutions across the state of Karnataka. M.S. Ramaiah Medical College (MSRMC) has been selected as the site for the main broadcasting studio, and each of the member institutions will be equipped with receiving stations.
As the relay hub for the network, the MSRMC studio will feature a digitally enabled lecture platform where workshops and presentations can be broadcast live, with real-time, two-way interaction, or recorded. The platform, which is being built by the high-tech education company Everonn, supports audio, video, and other presentation tools such as PowerPoint.
This new virtual system will advance faculty development throughout the RGUHS network by optimizing the university’s resources. Trained medical educators from each of the satellite medical education cells will be able to deliver high-quality lectures and workshops in various specialties to the virtual classrooms.
MSRMC was chosen as the broadcasting hub for its wealth of trained and committed educators, including eight FAIMER Fellows, all of whom will be involved with the studio programming when it goes live in January 2010. Venkatesh Doreswamy (PHIL 2007) has considerable experience developing virtual classroom content, and he has served on several committees and as a coordinator on this project beginning with conceptualization and now through implementation.
The virtual classroom network will help overcome staff shortages, reduce the overall program costs, lessen travel time, and ultimately train the greatest number of faculty members. Virtual classrooms at nearly 20 institutions will be operational when the network launches in January with the balance expected to come online by the end of March.