Joint effort improves medical education on global scale

For the past two years, the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Nanjing Medical University have shared the responsibility of hosting a joint symposium that focuses on research taking place at both organizations.

The tradition continued this year, but with the focus on medical education instead of research. Leaders from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry traveled to Nanjing, China from April 22-25 to discuss prominent topics in medical education, and to lead workshops for faculty members and learners in China.

Dr. Bertha Garcia, vice dean, education, helped organize and lead this year’s symposium.

“When I was brought in to help, I suggested altering the format to incorporate more education training,” Dr. Garcia said. “I wanted there to be more of an emphasis on training and workshops, so at the end of the symposium Nanjing Medical University’s learners could feel like they really gained something from the experience.”

Dr. Gary Tithecott, associate dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, and Dr. Scott McKay, associate chair, Department of Family Medicine, joined Dr. Garcia to lead three separate workshops on the topics of “organizing your teaching with the learner’s needs in mind”, “improving formative assessment in clinical learning” and “effective one-on-one teaching in a clinical environment”.

Approximately 120 faculty members, leaders and learners attended the workshops, which were accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

“The evaluations have not yet been summarized, but the verbal feedback we received was terrific,” Dr. Garcia said. “There was mostly young faculty at the workshops, and they were very engaged — they certainly want more.”

In approximately six months, a survey will be distributed to workshop participants, as feedback about outcomes will help the School plan other training opportunities on in the future — possibly with other international partners.

Organizing joint symposia like this on a global scale aligns with Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s strategic plan, and helps to strengthen its partnerships and relationships with other organizations around the world.

“What we gain from these experiences is the opportunity to cement our international relationships — relationships we have great expectations for,” Dr. Garcia said. “These relationships could lead to joint research collaborations, international exchanges and even combined education programs for our future students and trainees.”

The Fourth Annual Joint Western University – Nanjing Medical University Symposium will take place in April 2017 at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, and will also focus on medical education.