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.
A new open-access, peer-reviewed journal, currently in development, aims to publish research articles on a broad array of topics in health professions education, including medical, dental, and nursing education. Advances in Medical Education and Practice (working title) plans to cover emerging trends around the world as well as curriculum development and evaluation, teaching methodologies, student assessment, and continuing professional development and training for educators, among other topics.
Three FAIMER Fellows sit on the Honorary Editorial Board of the newly formed journal: Gboyega Ogunbanjo (PHIL 2007), Co-Director of the Southern Africa-FAIMER Regional Institute and Professor and Head of the Family Medicine and Primary Health Care Department at the University of Limpopo in South Africa; Rita Sood (PHIL 2005), Professor of Medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in India; and Wagdy Talaat (PHIL 2007), Professor and Head of the Medical Education Department at Suez Canal University in Egypt.
From November 10-12, 2008, forty-five educators from the medical, nursing, and dental fields gathered together at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi to attend the National Workshop on “Teaching Learning Methods in Health Professions Education.” Organizing Chair of the event was Rita Sood (PHIL 2005), and faculty included prominent health professions educators from throughout India, including K. Ramnarayan, FAIMER Fellows Avinash Supe (PHIL 2002), Tejinder Singh (PHIL 2003), Supten Sarbadhikari (PSG 2007), Payal Bansal (PHIL 2007), Nalin Mehta (PSG 2007), and Kalpana Luthra (CMCL 2006). Payal affirmed that serving on the faculty was “a very enriching experience” and a good “opportunity to network with many more medical educators.”
Topics covered during the three-day intensive Workshop included curricular objectives, principles of adult learning, the art of good lecturing, interactive teaching in large groups, microteaching, good teaching practices, problem-based learning, teaching communication skills, teaching clinical skills, professionalism and ethics, and the effective use of technology in instruction. Attendees Praveen Singh (CMCL 2008) and Suman Singh (CMCL 2008) described the sessions as “meticulously planned” with “three full days, full of hands-on activity” that kept participants busy long after the sessions officially ended.
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.
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.
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:
Networking through a website
Development of standards for medical education units
Construction of national faculty development programs in education
Formation of a national organization for medical educators
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)