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:
Since 2011 HealthSpace.Asia (HSA) has provided a virtual space to promote collaborative research, regional discussion, and policy development in primarly Southeast Asia. The idea for it arose during development of the Lancet Southeast Asia Series. HSA maintains a directory of events, scholarship and grants listings, job opportunities, and health policy and research-related news. It currently has over 1,300 members and is funded by the China Medical Board, IDRC, and Atlantic Philanthropies.
The 5 Country Asia Network—which developed a common protocol for a multi-country survey to analyze the current situation in their countries for health profession education—uses the HSA platform for its discussions, for example. Members would like to deepen the collaborative and networking power of the platform and use it more for mentoring of young researchers.
HSA is working on a special September 2014 issue of the Global Health Action Journal on Health Impacts for Regional Integration in the ASEAN region. For more information about Healthspace.Asia, to become a HSA member, or to submit manuscripts for the special issue, click here.
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.
As the China Medical Board approaches its centennial in 2014, it is working collaboratively with its Chinese and international partners to set in motion the next century of improving health professional education, aspiring to ultimately advance health. Dr. Lincoln Chen (pictured here), president of the China Medical Board (CMB), co-chaired the global Lancet Commission that assessed the history and future of medical education worldwide. That Commission report has attracted significant international attention and stimulated efforts in innovation and reform.
The mission of CMB is to advance health quality and equity in China and Southeast Asia in an interdependent world. Working in a spirit of partnership at the forefront of strategic philanthropy, CMB strives to build capacity for advancing innovations in professional education, policy research, and global health.
In China, CMB has supported a China Commission to re-examine China’s education for health professionals in the 21st century. CMB has also spearheaded other global and regional efforts to transform education.
For example, CMB has supported the five-member Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Health Professional Education Reform (5-C Network). Educators and policymakers from Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand and Vietnam have developed a common protocol and tools for their multi-country survey of health professional education. Through their discussions, they have found that while there is growing support for providing universal health coverage in their respective countries, further efforts to develop the human resources for health education and management will be needed to achieve that goal.
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.