Professor Trevor Gibbs details his role in AMEE, his past contributions and the benefits of taking part in the AMEE Fellowship Scheme.
My interest for medical education grew from an earlier reflective look back at my undergraduate medical training (I graduated in 1973) and realising that I only began to learn the medicine relevant to my future once I had graduated; something was wrong with those early days in medical school. This thought remained with me through my training as an oncologist and general practitioner (GP) , so that when I was offered a Senior Lecturer post at Liverpool Medical School (my alma mater), as part of a team tasked to make a radical change to the undergraduate curriculum, I jumped at the chance. My personal task was to use my clinical experience and previous GP trainer experience to run the Community- Based Learning part of the curriculum, deemed as an essential element by the 1993 Tomorrow’s Doctor publication. This early exposure to curriculum development subsequently proved to be a good foundation to my continued learning and even greater opportunities to travel and work in many varied and diverse countries, but not without difficulty.
My induction into medical education had prompted me to visit many countries to learn what they were doing as well as becoming an AMEE member and attending the annual AMEE conference. Again reflecting back in time, I remember my first AMEE conference being a real eye-opener – I felt completely out of my depth and thought that all medical educationalists’ spoke a new language!
I persevered however, and subsequent AMEE conferences inducted me into this new world, and encouraged my own development, gave structure to my own learning pathway through personal scholarship and I can honestly say, I have never looked back. Medical education has given me great opportunities, through a sense of belonging, and now that I feel more confident in the subject, a feeling of knowing that there is someone in the big family of education who can always give me guidance if need be.
So why have I taken on the role of Chair of the Fellowship Committee after being involved in its development for two years previously? Well, I suppose it is because of those early years of being a faculty member, tasked to deliver an important part of a curriculum, during which time I felt confused, alone and lost. Confused as to why I only started to learn what was necessary to be a competent practitioner after my undergraduate studies- what was wrong with my undergraduate education, which for many years previous, had produced many seemingly competent practitioners. Alone, in those early years trying to understand medical education and having to deliver a credible product. Lost in finding guidance, someone to turn to and provide me with good, sound advice.
Many of us join Associations, Colleges, and learned Institutions as a necessary part of part of our specialist training. Some join as an adjunct to their academic progress or some join purely out of interest. For some faculty, they become a home and family, a place to share, relax, discuss and learn. Sadly for many however, they become no more than a figurehead institution, a necessity but very little else.
I already know that AMEE is good at providing valuable resources for most, if not all things educational as well as providing an opportunity to communicate with like-minded people from all over the world. My view of the AMEE Fellowship Scheme is that it can provide those additional dimensions of academic recognition, support, advice and mentoring. By connecting new faculty with those with added experience, the AMEE Fellowship Scheme can assist in scholarly development, point faculty in the right direction and encourage purposeful communication, and prevent new faculty from being confused, alone and lost.