The SEARAME Conference to address current issues in Medical Education
Great disparities in health outcomes exist even in high income countries, demonstrating the importance of social determinants of health i.e. the environment in which people develop, live and work and in the systems that serve them. The main challenge for the education of health professionals in the 21st century lies in facilitating educational institutions to not only take up greater responsibility of directly contributing to the improvement of health of people it serves, but also to enter into collaborative efforts with the local health systems through education, research and service to help meet health needs of the people. In this context, WHO (1995) defines social accountability of medical schools as “the obligation to direct their education, research and service activities toward addressing the priority health concerns of the community, region, and/or nation they have mandate to serve and that the priority health concerns are to be identified jointly with health care organizations, health professionals and the public.”
Responding to the need for change, the independent Global Commission on Education of Health Professionals for the 21st century (2010), published its report recently in Lancet. It emphasizes a systems approach in medical and health professions education and calls for transforming institutional and instructional approaches to better meet present and future health needs. Interdependence of health and education sector is extremely important and balance between the two systems is crucial to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and equity. Further, in late 2010, The Global Consensus for Social Accountability of Medical Schools (GCSA), an active global network of educators, has urged medical schools to improve their response to current and future health related challenges in society and reorient their activities accordingly. It stated that we need a doctor who is reflective, socially responsible, self-directed and adapts to changing health circumstances locally and around the world. Priority attention needs to be given to fostering graduates committed to primary health care and that medical schools are uniquely placed in terms of a role that they can play in the realm of public health.
The themes of ethics, social mission, primary health care and local health needs to inform curriculum design resonate widely but are much more relevant to India and Asia. As described in the Global Commissions’ report, India has a health crisis exacerbated by the shortage of doctors and a mismatch between the need for basic medical services in rural areas and congregation of specialists in urban centers. To correct this mal-distribution of doctors, the Medical Council of India “Vision 2015” has proposed wide ranging reforms in medical education. The key reforms include a foundation course that includes communication, ethics and professionalism, followed by a curriculum that reflects India’s particular health burdens.
The SEARAME NCHPE 2012 conference will focus on many of the above issues in the context of South-East Asia (For program details, click here). The conference has been designed with keynote addresses and panel discussions laying the foundation followed by highly interactive poster presentations and group-work providing an opportunity for you to give your inputs. This will ensure recommendations emerge on important issues so that appropriate action at all level including policy lead to overcoming the challenges in the South-East Asian region. Hence, your participation at this conference is critical. It gives you an opportunity to participate in lighting the lamp rather than cursing the darkness.
Since the issues involved are critical, it is recognized that there is need for capacity building of faculty. This need is being addressed through Pre-conference workshops. To enable you to find the right capacity-building workshop that matches your or your institution’s needs, click here
We wholeheartedly welcome all of you to this academic event in the beautiful city of Coimbatore.