An independent commission of 20 academic leaders from around the world recommended comprehensive reform in the training of healthcare professionals, in a major report published in The Lancet on 4 December 2010. The report called for competency-based curricula, creative use of information technology, transformative learning, and inter-professional teamwork, as well as a systems approach to institutional reforms.
For the following two years, a follow-up dissemination and advocacy initiative was coordinated by the Commission’s co-chairs — Dean Julio Frenk of the Harvard School of Public Health and Dr. Lincoln Chen, president of the China Medical Board.
This website will promote dialogue on future visions of reform in health professional education. It will continue to report on news, views and activities of the Lancet Commission, broadening its scope to include allied activities on educating health professionals for the 21st century.
We will invite Commissioners and guests to communicate about reforms in which they are participating, to share insights, and to spark discussion. We welcome your feedback, suggestions and information on forthcoming events you would like to share with other readers.
Heightened attention is being paid globally to ensuring that sufficient numbers of competent and qualified health workers are educated and retained where they are most needed. On 18 March 2014, CapacityPlus hosted a knowledge-sharing and dissemination event, called “Transforming and Scaling Up Health Workforce Education and Training for Health Equity,” to advance the dialogue on overcoming challenges in health workforce development.
Held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the event featured presentations on key messages from the 2014 Prince Mahidol Award Conference, which focused on transformative learning for health equity; the World Health Organization’s recommendations for health worker education and retention; and innovative approaches and tools developed by CapacityPlus in collaboration with global and national partners.
The Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2014 (PMAC14) on “Transformative Learning for Health Equity” sparked active participation and stimulating discussions. Held 27-31 January 2014 in Pattaya, Thailand, the conference attracted almost 550 participants from over 60 countries. This included academics, government officials from developing and developed countries, NGOs, foundations, students in the health professions, the private sector and UN agencies.
It was co-hosted by the Prince Mahidol Award Conference, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Rockefeller Foundation and China Medical Board. The international organizing committee included a representative from each.
“The Conference theme highlights the need and the opportunity for continued improvement of health professionals education in order to keep pace with the scientific, social and economic changes transforming the healthcare environment,” organizers wrote in their welcome message.
Recent efforts that reflect the increasing global consensus that health professional education is not keeping pace include:
As one of the leading institutions for future-oriented issues relating to education in the healthcare sector, Careum Foundation in Switzerland aims to provide new impetus to continuing education and training in order to sufficiently prepare future actors in the healthcare sector for the tasks they will face. We would like to update you on work we have done at the Careum Foundation in relation to the Lancet report “Health professionals for a New Century.”
We translated the report into German and have shared it widely in the German speaking health community. The link to the German translation can be found here. We have found that it is easier for German speaking professionals and policy makers to read and discuss the report in German, even if they speak and understand English. It is available both in hard copy and on the web.
We have organized a series of events to discuss the report and reflect on the challenges faced in the German speaking countries (Switzerland, Germany, Austria). The Careum Dialogue brings together high level participants from the three countries to debate the challenges of professional education. The intersectoral approach that we have developed is called (in German) Gesundheitsbildungspolitik. You can find the links to these dialogues (organized in 2012 and 2013) here. At the Careum Dialogue 2013 we were also able to welcome the health ministers of Switzerland and Austria. The Careum Dialogues are chaired by the former secretary of state for health Dr. Thomas Zeltner.
There is no question why MOOCs have been getting so much attention in education circles. When Harvard University and MIT launched the digital platform edX in 2012, they began with two courses. One was Harvard School of Public Health’s class in epidemiology and biostatistics, which drew more than 50,000 students around the world, demonstrating a huge potential for outreach.
A special session on 27 January 2014 in Thailand investigated the potentials and limitations of MOOCs and other education technology useful for transformative health education. "ICT (information and communication technologies) for Health Professional Education: MOOCs and More for Transformative Learning in Health" was sponsored by HealthSpace.Asia in collaboration with the China Medical Board, Mahidol University and the Asia-Pacific Health Professional Education Reform Network.
Representatives from the MEPI schools attended a workshop on eLearning strategic plan development in Gaborone, Botswana 25-27 February 2014. The Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a U.S. government-sponsored initiative that has granted five-year awards to 13 medical schools in 12 African countries for medical education and locally-relevant research capacity-building. Each school’s team left the workshop with a draft strategic plan.
The workshop was attended by health professionals, educators, deans, instructional designers and system administrators interested in eLearning strategic planning, instructional design and content development. The 40 workshop participants also shared knowledge and experiences and built a support network across Africa.
The workshop highlighted eLearning approaches, including delivery methods and eLearning tools. MEPI schools are currently identifying the best mix for their goals and capabilities. Strategies for delivery include: computer assisted instruction (self paced, online or offline), fully online virtual classrooms, blended (face-to-face and online), mobile learning, and digital libraries. Open source and proprietary tools were identifed, including curricula platforms, streaming content delivery, and interactive conferencing. The MEPI eLearning Approach PPT and other workshop resources are on the MEPI e-Learning website.
The Principal Investigators from 9 of the 13 Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) medical schools in Africa were videotaped, explaining their visions and how MEPI has been part of game-changing success in their countries. The video series, called “Voices of Change,” can be found here at http://karibouconnections.net