Innovation in medical education highlighted

As Vietnam and its Southeast Asian neighbours integrate into the ASEAN bloc, which will require the free movement of health care workers and patients, there is an urgent need to update the country’s system of medical education including university curricula and approaches to teaching and learning, according to medical professors.

Professor David Gordon, president of the World Federation for Medical Education, speaks about training programmes including basic science, clinical medicine, ethics and medical law at a two-day conference ended on December 3 (Photo VNA)

Professor David Gordon, president of the World Federation for Medical Education, speaks about training programmes including basic science, clinical medicine, ethics and medical law at a two-day conference ended on December 3 (Photo VNA)

Speaking at a two-day conference that ended on December 3 in Ho Chi Minh City, Professor David Gordon, president of the World Federation for Medical Education, said that a training programme should include not only basic science and clinical medicine, but also teaching ethics and medical law, which are clearly not optional.
Moreover, others subjects are important, such as health economics, anthropology and sociology, Gordon said.
“However, how do we decide how much should be offered in these subjects, and how they should be taught and learned?”
In thinking about these questions, medical universities should work with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association, the World Medical Association, the International Committee of the Red Cross and others, he added.
Gordon also highlighted the importance of accreditation of medical education, which ensures that medical schools are educating doctors fit to serve the needs of the population where they function.
Accreditation also demonstrates to outside organisations and territories that accredited medical schools are competent and produce doctors at an accepted international standard, he added.
Peter Ellis, professor of Medicine and associate dean for Medical Education at Otago University in New Zealand and executive committee member of the Association for Medical Education in the Western Pacific Region, said that medical schools must have a programme of routine curriculum monitoring of processes and outcomes.
Currently, globalisation in medicine and medical education, medical migration, cross border education, and an explosion of medical schools are common challenges, Ellis said.
The First Annual National Vietnam Medical Education Conference with the theme of “Preparing the 21st Century Physician” was held by the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in HCM City, the Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam and United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Improving Access, Curriculum and Teaching in Medical Education and Emerging Diseases (IMPACT-MED) Alliance.
Speaking at the conference, the US Chargé d’affaires to Vietnam Caryn McClelland, said that a robust, well-trained reactive health workforce is critical to Vietnam’s sustainable and equitable development.
"Comprehensive reform of health-education curriculum is a big undertaking but we are on the right track," McClelland added.
Associate Professor Dr Nguyen Van Phuc, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, said that medical education in the world has innovated toward applying advanced technologies in teaching and learning, so the country should begin step-by-step to integrate into this innovation.
The conference attracted 400 leaders in medical education, students and faculty from Vietnam and around the world.
The conference aims to stimulate discussions among medical education experts, inspire further innovations, and foster a community of medical educators invested in advancing medical education, research, quality improvement and patient care.
Economic growth and demographic changes are driving demand for developing healthcare services throughout Vietnam.
Having a responsibility for developing national strategies and programmes, planning and budgeting, manpower allocation and supervision of national institutions, the Vietnam’s Ministry of Health encourages the improvement of the health care system and emphasises investing in medical education and primary care.

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