The U.S. government-sponsored PEPFAR Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI)—which has granted five-year awards to 13 medical schools in 12 African countries for medical education and locally-relevant research capacity-building—held a workshop for discussing best practice and innovations at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, 6-8 June 2012.
The workshop aimed to increase the dialogue on medical education within the MEPI network, and to promote knowledge and exchange in five focus areas:
• community-oriented education
• faculty development
• competency-based education
• technology-assisted education
• postgraduate medical education
MEPI aims to increase the quantity, quality, and retention of African health professional graduates with the specific skills needed to address the health needs of their national populations. MEPI envisions strong links among MEPI institutions and between the institutions and their respective ministries of health and education. These linkages are essential to promote collaborative planning, the retention of graduates, and the sustainability of innovations in education and research. The success of MEPI programs will be judged on outcomes achieved with an emphasis on their impact on population health. High-quality, cost-effective, relevant medical education initiatives are an essential component of effectively strengthening health systems to achieve positive impacts in population health.
A wide array of participants attended the MEPI workshop, including representatives from each of the 13 MEPI schools, the Consortium of New Southern African Medical Schools (CONSAMS), the MEPI Coordinating Council, and United States government agencies (including HRSA, NIH, CDC, USAID, and USAID’s CapacityPlus project). Representatives from community-oriented medical schools in the United States and in Africa also shared their experiences in the workshop. Speakers included Lancet report Commissioner Dr. Barry Kistnasamy of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, who provided an overview of the commission’s findings.