Summary: In Professor Harden’s first blog of 2015, he discusses his latest trip to India for two events and his reaction of the student’s participation from the new ESME Student Online course. Description: Two things have particularly impressed me this month. The first was the huge enthusiasm for medical education we experienced earlier this month in India and secondly the enthusiasm of medical students who have joined our ESME Student Course this week.

We spent the first afternoon on January 5 in India at the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) with a series of presentations and discussions. Dr Arun Jamkar, Vice Chancellor at MUHS, introduced and chaired the session. He is very impressive and is actively engaged in medical education. At the later conference in Aurangabad he gave a fascinating presentation on mirror neurons and the implications for learning in particular in surgery. We had some useful one-on-one discussions with members of the staff and I was impressed by their commitment to medical education. Dr Avinash Supe, who is Professor of Surgery and also Director of the FAIMER Regional Institute made the arrangements for our visit to MUHS. We met Dr Payal Bansal who is the Managing Editor for Education for Health, the TUFH network journal, which is now produced in India. MUHS is developing an international master’s in health professions education course in collaboration with the University of Michigan as part of an Obama–Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award. John Dent will work with the MUHS group in organising an AMEE Live Online satellite conference alongside the AMEE 2015 Conference in Glasgow, Scotland in September.  It is also planned to have a satellite AMEE conference in Puni, India.

Blog90_6.jpgThe following day we ran a workshop Global Perspectives in Medical Education at the MGM Institute of Health Sciences. Again very impressive were the vice chancellor, Dr Sudhir Kadam, and the pro-vice chancellor, Dr Chander Puri. About 200 participated in the workshop. We then moved on to Aurangabad to participate in the “International Convention of Challenges in Medical Education”. This included more than 600 participants from different parts of India. Sixty participants took part in our ESME Course and John Dent, Pat Lilley, Madalena Patricio, and Niv Patil acted as facilitators. Niv also played a major role with the arrangements for our visit to India and is clearly well respected in the region. We are trying a hybrid model with much of the course delivered face-to-face in India and a final module to be delivered online in February. It will be interesting to see how this works in practice and how many choose to go on to complete the assignment for the AMEE-ESME Certificate in Medical Education. We were asked to run a repeat course at the end of the conference, but were unable to do so as our travel arrangements had already been made. What impressed me about the ESME Course was the great enthusiasm and commitment by the participants. There was a very energetic debate on some of the issues with participants taking different stances. What I found particularly impressive was that the MGM Vice Chancellor and senior professors stayed for the whole day of the workshop and actively took part in the discussions. This sends out an important message to staff. The meeting itself had a full programme with international and local speakers. A flame was lit on stage as in the photograph to mark the opening of the conference. International speakers included Robert Carrol and Lawrence Sherman from the USA and Khalid Bin Abdulrahaman from Saudi Arabia, in addition to the AMEE team. Dr Lele from Mumbai talked about the use of computers in education. He has been instrumental in much of the early work in relation to computers in medicine and has written extensively on the subject. He has also produced a book on clinical medicine based on the presenting problems and kindly presented me with a copy. I was interested to see how the 55 problems, which were the basis for the book, relate to the 104 clinical presentations we have as a basis for the curriculum in Dundee and the Calgary list of presentations. Some of his problems are more generic.

The leading oration by Dr Hegde on the final day of the meeting was provocative and challenging. Standing at the front of the stage he engaged the audience for an hour without any notes and without any PowerPoint slides. A key message for me was that we should understand our limitations as a doctor. He cited a number of papers, including journal, volume, and page numbers to support his argument. Lawrence Sherman tracked down one of his references from Harvard Medical School in Science Daily, “Startling benefit of cardiology meetings: Outcomes better when cardiologists away?”. It was reported that high risk patients with certain acute heart conditions are more likely to survive if they are admitted to the hospital during national cardiology meetings when many cardiologists are away from their regular practice.

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My own presentation at the meeting was on the “Future of Medical Education” as shown in the photograph. Having described various options, I asked the audience to vote with a simple coloured card system as to which development I mentioned should be given priority and which was most likely to be achieved in the next 10 years. A photograph is shown of the audience voting. When not presenting I was kept well fed in the front row with local fruits. There was huge interest in the AMEE stand at the meeting and the various papers and hand outs on display proved popular, including the “Updates” on a range of topics that highlight the sources available on MedEdWorld.

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The floors in the institution were beautifully decorated with flour sand paintings. I had not seen this technique before and it was amazing to see the skills of those involved as demonstrated in the photograph.

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In the evenings we were well entertained and the photograph is of myself with Vice Chancellor, Dr Kadam at one dinner.

I mentioned in a previous blog that we are running a pilot ESME Course exclusively for students online over a 12-week period. There was a huge demand and we had to limit the numbers of students accepted to 70. These will, work in three groups with John Dent and Cate Kennedy from AMEE and Richard Hays from Australia as facilitators. We have students from 19 different countries participating from across the globe. I opened the course with the first live online webinar on Monday, giving it twice to suit the different time zones. The level of engagement and interaction was tremendous and much more than we see normally with the ESME Courses. It was great seeing and hearing from students from around the world talking about their experience and hearing how they were able to engage in different ways in teaching in their medical school. I can only hope that the enthusiasm is maintained, but I am tremendously optimistic. It is exciting to work with students in this way.

I am in London later this week for the AMEE Executive Committee meeting over the weekend and we leave the following week for APMEC in Singapore, but more about that later.