Summary: In his latest blog Professor Harden discusses the 12th IMEC meeting, the move to outcome-based education, themes for AMEE 2017 and three ways to fold a suit jacket. Description: 12th IMEC
I returned last week from the 12th International Medical Education Conference (IMEC 2017) in Kuala Lumpur. The theme of the conference was Health Professions Education without Borders. In opening the conference, Mary Yap, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education in Malaysia, highlighted that the theme of the conference was very much in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025. She suggested that to be borderless

“health professions education has to look at international accreditation, models of health professions education partnership and their impact on healthcare services, the use of technology-enhanced learning in promoting personalised learning, assessments, inter-professional education, healthcare equity and distribution.”

The theme for my opening keynote address was Unsustainable, Impractical, Ineffective and Unacceptable – criticism of the current state of medical education or of plans for a radical future change? In planning for the future, I suggested we should not be confined to traditional concepts of the medical school as determined by traditional borders defined by national, organisational or sector boundaries, time and space. “Unbundling” of the education programme was an exciting and acceptable way ahead, raising the quality and lowering the cost. On the general theme of education without borders Val Wass and Lesley Southgate had an interesting article in Academic Medicine Doctors without Borders. (Wass, V. & Southgate, L. 2017. Doctors Without Borders. Acad Med. 92(4). 441-3)

The conference and the meeting of the IMU Academic Council celebrated the 25th anniversary of the International Medical University. I remember when the concept was originally proposed, many senior figures argued that the idea of students being trained for the first two and a half years in Malaysia then joining a school in Australia, New Zealand, Europe or North America was not possible. In fact, IMU has been very successful, students performing well on transfer to a partner university. I think there are lessons to be learned about international dimensions of medical education and what represents a core curriculum in the early years of the course.

Access to closed-access publications
Stephen Downes in his blog of 10th April drew attention to on Unpaywall ( which allows users to find open-access versions of closed-access publications. Well worth looking at if you are trying to find an article.

The move to outcome based education
As referred to in previous blogs, a move to outcome-based education has been an important development in the past decades in response to changes and developments in healthcare, the pressure to include additional themes and subjects in the curriculum and the need for greater accountability. It is difficult to see what the alternative is to specifying the learning outcomes expected of students in the education programme.

The current module in our online ESME course is on outcome-based education. I was interested in two participants’ comments during the opening webinar

“The curriculum at my medical school is entirely outcome-based and I actually find it hard to understand what the alternative is. If the outcomes aren’t outlined how do students know what is expected of them?”,

and “I couldn’t imagine what the alternative would be if you didn’t have outcome based education?”

Themes for AMEE 2017
Over 3500 submissions were received for AMEE 2017 in Helsinki for short communications, posters and conference workshops. We have not been able to include all in the programme. We have encouraged those whose abstract has not been included in the programme to join the meeting, network with colleagues and contribute to the various discussion sessions. Round-table discussions have been scheduled as a new opportunity this year for those with an interest in an area to discuss the theme with colleagues.

I have been looking at the submissions accepted as posters in order to assign them to themed sessions. There appeared to be an increase in the number of contributions on the subject of student stress. Are students now more stressed than previously or is it that we are simply recognising and tackling the problem? On looking through the submissions, I appreciated how important the title is. Some titles were interesting and made me want to read immediately the rest of the abstract, some were vague and not clear as to what the paper was about. Many authors do not give sufficient attention to the title of their paper. It is always worthwhile trying it out on colleagues.

3 ways to fold a suit jacket
When travelling I am never sure the best way to fold a jacket so that it doesn’t wrinkle. This video demonstrates three very different ways to fold a suit jacket which allows it to be stuffed in a suitcase without it being wrinkled. (