FAIMER Collaborates with All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Others for National Conference on Medical Education

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The following is an Executive Summary of the National Conference on Medical Education authored by the conference’s organizing chairperson and 2005 FAIMER Institute Fellow Rita Sood, M.B.B.S., M.D.

NCME 2007 distance learning faculty members Tejinder Singh, Medha Joshi, and Janet Grant, pictured with meeting planners Bill Burdick and Rita Sood
(left to right) NCME 2007 distance learning faculty members Tejinder Singh, Medha Joshi, and Janet Grant, pictured with meeting planners Bill Burdick and Rita Sood

The National Conference on Medical Education (NCME 2007) was held November 15-17, 2007 in New Delhi, India. Centered on the theme, “Building Capacity in Medical Education – A National Perspective,” NCME 2007 was organized by the KL Wig Centre for Medical Education and Technology (CMET) at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in collaboration with FAIMER. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, WHO India, Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Science and Technology, and the Medical Council of India also supported this event.

Rita Sood, M.B.B.S., M.D., a 2005 FAIMER Institute Fellow from New Delhi, India was the organizing chairperson for the conference. Dr. Sood is a faculty member for all three FAIMER Regional Institutes in India. She is a Professor of Medicine and Professor In-charge of CMET at AIIMS.

Meeting participants Payal Bansal, Rita Sood, Zubair Amin, John Norcini, and Usha Nayar
(left to right) Meeting participants Payal Bansal, Rita Sood, Zubair Amin, John Norcini, and Usha Nayar

The purpose of NCME 2007 was to bring together key stakeholders in medical education in India to deliberate on the issue of faculty development and to chart a road map for the future. The conference was attended by about 130 medical educators from across India, including faculty members, Deans and Principals from various medical colleges in the country; Vice-chancellors of health sciences universities; representatives from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Medical Council of India; and international delegates from South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Malaysia. Conference faculty included FAIMER Institute and FAIMER Regional Institute faculty members as well as other eminent national and international experts in medical education.

The conference was directed to highlight the emerging content areas and global trends in faculty development in medical education; bring out the strengths of faculty development in India; initiate the formation of a national network of medical educators to facilitate sharing of innovations in medical education; and plan the mechanics of faculty development in medical education in India.

Prior to the start of the conference, FAIMER faculty also convened four pre-conference workshops focused on: educational research and scholarship development; use of distance learning in faculty development; faculty development in performance-based assessment; and educational leadership in change management.

Deliberations of the conference consisted of panel discussions, interactive poster sessions, and small group interactive sessions on appreciative inquiry, brainstorming, affinity mapping, and multi-voting.

Throughout the conference, delegates showed very active and enthusiastic participation and sustained interest. The deliberations brought out the need to strengthen faculty development as a vehicle for promoting quality medical education in India. The following is a summary of the themes that emerged:

  • Faculty development programs are essential as instruments of change for medical education and health care.
  • Educational innovations and innovators need to be supported. The momentum that has developed so far needs to be sustained.
  • Financial resources and institutional support are essential for faculty development.
  • There is a need to develop a strategy for mandatory training of entry-level teachers in health professions education in a phased manner.
  • Leadership, change management, educational research, and scholarship development should become part of faculty development programs.
  • Contributions made to faculty development programs and innovation in medical education need to be recognized and rewarded.
  • Aim for quality assurance and enhancement in faculty development program.
  • Formation of a network of health professions educators and special interest groups who could meet on a regular basis and share innovative ideas.

The highlight of the conference was the formation of five special interest groups to take forward the ideas that emerged during the conference. As a road map for future action, the participants identified several interventions out of which the top five were prioritized. These were:

  1. Networking through a website
  2. Development of standards for medical education units
  3. Construction of national faculty development programs in education
  4. Formation of a national organization for medical educators
  5. Development of a national body for the accreditation of medical educators

Conference participants divided themselves into one of these five special interest groups. These groups then worked together, selected a coordinator, and developed short- and long-term plans that included objectives, activities, timelines, challenges, and opportunities. The groups continue to work together on-line and are in the process of refining their plans. To follow the progress of the working groups, visit the Google Group on Medical Education Units in India formed by meeting participants at http://groups.google.com/group/meu_india?hl=en.

Conference participants gave tremendous positive feedback and reported that they found the workshops and the format of the conference very engaging and conducive to the sharing of ideas. They appreciated the initiative of the Centre for Medical Education & Technology at AIIMS in organizing this conference and expressed the need to have such national meetings on a regular basis for meaningful interactions, sharing ideas in medical education, and updating their knowledge about developments in the field of medical education.

Dr. Sood and her team at AIIMS express their sincere thanks to FAIMER for its wholehearted support and encouragement of this National Conference on Building Capacity in Medical Education. They look forward to continued support and encouragement from FAIMER in taking forward the cause of medical education in India.

(posted January 11, 2008; updated February 22, 2008)