Summary: Dr Yingzi Huang reflects on the 40th anniversary of the OSCE and the 90th anniversary of the Sun Yat-sen University. Description: Yingzi-s-AMEE-report-for-Sun-2.jpg

The first night we arrived in Sun Yat-sen University at Nov 8th, with all professors and leaders from prestigious medical universities in China waiting to welcome international expert guests from the UK and Hong Kong, the red poppy worn on Professor Trevor Gibbs’ lapel was the first thing that caught everyone’s eyes. Using the poppy as the symbolic of remembrance, this year marks 100 years since the outbreak of World War One. Such a special year now it is! Not only marking the beginning of a war supposed to end all wars, but one marking the 40th anniversary of the OSCE and also the 90th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen University, the first school of Western Medicine and one of the best medical schools in China.

Yingzi-s-AMEE-report-for-Sun-3.jpgDeveloped by Professor Ronald Harden 40 years ago, the OSCE is no doubt the star of medical education, “providing a more valid and more reliable examination permitting the move away from testing factual knowledge to testing a wide range of skills, allowing the learners to gain insights into the elements making up clinical competencies as well as feedback on personal strengths and weaknesses“. What fascinates people is that the OSCE remains a very debatable topic after all these years and still features regularly in medical education conferences across the globe. To quote the well-respected Prof. Geoff Norman: “The objective structured clinical examination, with its multiple samples of performance, has come to dominate performance assessment”.


It has then become such a lovely moment that on the symbolic day of the 90th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen University, Professor Trevor Gibbs, together with Professor John Sandars and Professor Niv Patil, were invited to present at its one-day conference of new concepts of medical education. Each gave a speech about the OSCE and assessment as a salute to the concept, and each successfully convinced the audience that OSCE is not just for assessment of learning but assessment for learning, enabling learners to continue to learn in a very constructive way.

Visions and ideas have been shared by world-class experts, but what next? Are we satisfied with the current situation, and should we sit back and bask in the glory of the OSCE and our developments in medical education? After visiting the new surgical department building of the first affiliated Sun Yat-sen hospital the next day, especially after visiting the ICU wards which are claimed to be the biggest and the most advanced ICU in Asia-Pacific region, I couldn’t help thinking: With all of the high -tech equipment and techniques we possess nowadays, and in order to make the most of the Chinese Government’s input and resources, it seems now more than ever there is an urgent need to provide the best medical education we can for the Chinese students, to invest in the students who are the future of medicine, use this one and only way to bring about the best return of investment.

Compared to 100 years ago, 90 years ago, or even 40 years ago, when people we respect did such brilliant, marvelous altruistic things for the world, it’s hard to say no, we now have to stop. Perhaps it’s also why Professor Trevor Gibbs, the newly appointed consultant of Medical Education in Sun Yat-sen University, will never stop promoting AMEE, promoting Yingzi-s-AMEE-report-for-Sun-5.jpgfaculty development, promoting his educational philosophy - to develop medical education and allow the right people do the right thing, towards the right people in the right way, at the right time. It reminds me of what Prof. Ronald Harden described in his latest blog about flipped healthcare: “we need to flip healthcare giving more responsibility to the patient and, from treating disease to co-producing health, from individual providers to care teams and from the hospital to the community.  We will ask the patient ‘what matters to you’ as well as ‘what’s the matter.”

In remembering we reflect, we grow, we transform, thus gain new insights and continue to fight for what’s worth fighting for. A new year is coming soon, let us mark the passing year as a special year and keep moving on, into a better future.

Happy New Year to all!