Summary:

The 15th Ottawa Conference on Assessment of Competence in Medicine and the Healthcare Professions took place in Kuala Lumpur in March 2012. This was the first time one of these biennial conferences, initially started in 1985 in Ottawa, had taken place in Malaysia.

Article:

The 15th Ottawa Conference on Assessment of Competence in Medicine and the Healthcare Professions took place in Kuala Lumpur in March 2012. This was the first time one of these biennial conferences, initially started in 1985 in Ottawa, had taken place in Malaysia.
The conference, co-hosted by the International Medical University of Kuala Lumpur and AMEE, attracted approximately 1200 delegates from 50 countries and a wide range of plenary speakers from around the world. Those familiar with the AMEE conference format of pre-conference workshops, plenaries, symposia, oral short presentations, conference workshops and poster sessions would feel at home in the Ottawa conference setting. What they may not have expected was the wide range of sessions available to attend with as many as 17 parallel sessions in some periods. The extensive KLCC building, forming a margin to the KL central park opposite the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, was more than a match for the challenge of staging the event. The lavish auditorium, well-equipped breakout rooms and spacious dining and exhibition area made each of the sessions pleasant to attend while the multilayer promenade areas overlooking the park made pleasant spaces for networking with friends and colleagues from around the world which is always such a key part of medical education events.

The Conference was opened by the Hon. YB Dat’Sri Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Health and delegates were welcomed by Tan Sri Abu Bakar Suleiman, Prof Victor Lim and Prof Ronald Harden representing the co-hosts. The opening ceremony was followed by an outstanding display of Malay, Chinese and Indian dancing by students from IMU together with sitar music and an exhibition of traditional craft work.
Contrasting opening plenaries on the future and role of assessment in clinical and teaching competence were given by Brian Hodges from the University of Toronto and Ron Berk from John Hopkins University. Symposia with invited panels of discussants proved popular sessions for delegates to consider further the criteria for good assessment, technology and assessment, performance assessment and assessment in an inter-professional context.
Monday’s first plenary by Prof Sharifah Hapsah Shahabudin from University Kebangsaan Malaysia, focused on student opportunities to learn practice-based learning as a life-time method of CPD. Prof Nicolas Glasgow from the Australian National University brought his reflections as a Dean on the agencies which together influence health service reform and the day’s symposia considered assessment of professionalism, for selection and in research.
During the conference there were approximately 300 short presentations, 46 conference workshops and 230 posters displays. Eight presentations had competed for the RHIME award for innovation in medical education. The trophy was presented to Dr Maria Ahmed from Imperial College London, UK, for work entitled “Operation Debrief: A SHARP intervention to improve performance feedback in the OR”.
The final conference day included a student-focused symposium and concluded with plenaries by André de Champlain on standard setting and Cees van der Vleuten on the widening perspective of assessment especially the role of subjective assessment which can be holistic, constructionist and formative.
Delegates with energy to spare after a full day of conference activity could take a metro trip down-town to visit the city centre sights enjoy a Tiger beer or a fish pedicure in China Town, or splash-out in one of the city’s many shopping malls.
Staying nearer the conference venue there was the opportunity to take the high speed lift to the sky bridge at the 42nd floor of the incandescent twin towers or to catch up with friends old and new over a Malay style meal in one of the many first-class restaurants nearby.