Summary: In this blog, Professor Harden gives us an insight of his latest events and activities including a trip to China and United Arab Emirates. Description: 2.jpgEast Meets West in Medical Education was the theme for a one day conference in Guangzhou, China on the 5th March.  Along with Trevor Gibbs, I was a guest speaker.  About 360 representatives from schools around China participated and I was impressed by the level of questions and interactions.  There is clearly growing interest in medical education in the country.  The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, who were hosting the conference, offer a rich clinical experience for their students with 20,000 outpatients each day attending the hospital.  There is also an impressive simulation suite including a simulated operating theatre and an OSCE suite with 14 rooms each linked with video cameras to a central point.  There are currently 1,565 doctors in the hospital and the aim is to offer as many as possible training in medical education.  As noted in the photograph the mission of the medical school is ‘we save human lives by studying them.’
1.jpgTrevor Gibbs ran an ESME course for 50 staff in 2015.  The quality of the personal assignments was very high and they showed how they could apply the principles addressed in the course to their day to day practice as teachers.  A prize of travel and registration for the AMEE 2016 conference in Barcelona was given to the most impressive report from Dr Xuan Ho.  A further group of 50 teachers will be completing the ESME course this year. 
Professor Haipeng Xiao who is Professor of Medicine and President of the First Affiliated Hospital is committed to faculty development and to acknowledging teachers.  On a wall of the building are pictures of teachers who had been recognised for the quality of their teaching.  With my former clinical responsibilities being in thyroid disease, I was interested that this was also the clinical speciality of Professor Xiao.  I was intrigued by his use of thyroid arterial embolization to treat resistant Graves disease.  I also met Huang Yingzi who is the AMEE Ambassador in China and who has supported Trevor Gibbs on the ESME course.  While in Guangzhou we visited the Safari Park with the highlight seeing at close quarters the triplet pandas who are now 18 months old.  The zoo have clearly been more successful with their breeding programme than Edinburgh Zoo!  Among the animals are more than 200 tigers, also a tribute to their breeding programme.
In February I had a short visit to the United Arab Emirates.  The conference centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi offer excellent facilities.  In both places different cultures come together.  It has now been agreed that the 18th Ottawa Conference will be held in Abu Dhabi in March 2018.  I leave this week for the 17th Ottawa Conference in Perth, Australia.  We have more than 1,300 participants and an exciting programme.  I am particularly interested in how the OSCE has continued to evolve as a tool to assess competence in the healthcare professions and I am looking forward to listening to some of the more innovative presentations.  More about this in my next blog.
Where the world’s most international universities are situated was the theme of an article in the Times Higher Education, 14th January.  Four UK universities featured in the top 20 universities with a global outlook.  While North America dominates the overall Times Higher Education World University Rankings, it was conspicuous by its absence in this league table.
I am currently working with Pat Lilley on a new book on The Roles of a Teacher.  This is a development of the AMEE Guide The Good Teacher is more than a lecturer: the twelve roles of the teacher.  In the Steve Wheeler blog spot ( the views of Canadian academic Dave Cormier are given - ‘I refuse to accept that my role as a teacher is to take the knowledge in my head and put it in someone else’s.  That would make for a pretty limited world.  Why then do we teach?  Are we passing on social mores?  I want my students to know more than me at the end of my course.  I want them to make connections I would never make.  I want them to be prepared to change.  I think having a set curriculum of things people are supposed to know encourages passivity.  I don’t want that.  We should not be preparing people for factories.  I teach to try and organize people’s learning journeys… to create a context for them to learn in.’
Plans are well advanced for the AMEE 2016 Conference in Barcelona in August.  More than 3,200 abstracts were received and these are currently being reviewed.  We will have a great programme this year with something to interest everyone.  The range of subjects being addressed is already evident in the pre-conference activities and plenaries announced on the AMEE website  Barcelona I think will be a popular venue for the meeting.  Maria Rosa Fenoll Brunet sent in a link to a video clip produced by the Catalonia government highlighting some of the attractions.  It is well worth looking at –