Summary: After returning from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the 11th Interntional Medical Education Conference, Professor Harden gives us an insight on the events and activities at the conference. Description: I returned earlier this week from Kuala Lumpur where I attended the 11th International Medical Education Conference at IMU.  It proved to be a well organised and interesting meeting.  The theme was Integrating Culture and Values into Health Professions Education.  In my opening plenary presentation, Cultural Competency in the Real World and the School Without Boundaries, I used a number of video clips.  Janusz Janczukowicz from the Medical University of Lodz, Poland had produced an excellent clip on why cultural competence is important in medical education.  In my presentation I suggested that addressing cultural competency in the medical curriculum had been difficult because of the traditional biomedical scientific lens through which we have viewed issues.  This was a point made by Renée Fox in an article Becoming a Physician: Cultural Competence and the Culture of Medicine in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005.  Along the lines of the integration ladder, which I described some time ago, I presented a cultural competency ladder based on Bennett’s model of cultural competency, with at the bottom step denial and moving up through polarisation, minimisation, acceptance, adaptation to integration at the top step.  Using coloured cards the audience voted where they were in their schools at present and where they would like to be.  The response at present was at the bottom steps but there was almost uniform agreement that we should move to the top integration step or failing this the adaption step.  (In a debate on the topic of Can universities be truly diverse later in the meeting, a telephone polling system was used to elicit audience responses.)  In my presentation I highlighted that we should not think of cultural competency simply in terms of patient’s ethnicity and religion but also in terms of patient’s problems such as AIDS and of patient behaviour, for example body piercing.  In addition to such a patient-centred view of cultural competency, I suggested we also needed to have an inward looking view where we look at the cultures within the different healthcare professions and the impact this has on interprofessional education and also the different cultures within medicine itself.

Prior to my presentation, I had a pre-conference workshop on cultural competency and how it could be addressed in curriculum planning.  At AMEE 2016 in Barcelona there are a number of papers scheduled on cultural competency, highlighting the need for further education in the area along with interesting ideas as to how it can be tackled in a curriculum.

Jonas Nordquist followed up a plenary a presentation he had made at AMEE when he explored at IMEC the cultural impact of physical learning space in health professions education.  He highlighted what learning spaces tell us about organisations in particular about their culture, values and hidden curriculum.  This proved an interesting and new thought for many of the conference participants.

Lambert Schuwirth delivered the final plenary on assessment of cultural competence and values for health professionals.  He gave an interesting presentation but I was surprised to see that the examples he gave were of written assessments and that he only touched briefly on the assessment of cultural competency using other assessment formats.  He did not mention for example the excellent example of OSCE’s designed specifically to assess cultural competency as described by Elizabeth Kachur in New York.  Her case study in our book The Definitive Guide to the OSCE provides an excellent example of 15 stations in an OSCE that assess cultural competency, with feedback provided to the learner.

IMG_0736.JPGThe AMEE exhibit at IMEC 2016 aroused a lot of interest and was an opportunity to meet with AMEE members and also to introduce the association to conference participants who had been unaware of its existence.  Elsevier had a book stand in the exhibition area and featured The Definitive Guide to the OSCE, Essential Skills for a Medical Teacher and a Practical Guide for Medical Teachers as in the photograph I did a number of book signing sessions.  

There were some interesting posters presented at the conference.  Lilit Najaryan and colleagues from Kazakhstan described in a poster the different roles of the teacher based on the 12 roles model I described previously.  A take-home message from the poster was ‘It ain’t what you do - it’s the way that you do it.’  With Pat Lilley I am currently working on a new book to be published by Elsevier in 2017 where we have defined and expanded the different roles of the teacher.

A number of interesting presentations were made for the IMU-Ron Harden Innovation in Medical Education Award (IMU-RHIME).  The winner was Chris O’Callaghan and Chris Williams on the theme of Development and Evaluation of Video Intense, Context Specific, Multimedia Training Program for Africa: Ophthalmology.  Their work is certainly impressive.  

On returning to Dundee we have been working on MedEdPublish. By the time the next blog is published I hope we will have online the relaunch of AMEE’s MedEdPublish as a new e-journal for the healthcare professions with rapid publication and post publication review of submissions.

We have now put on the website the papers selected for AMEE 2016 in Barcelona.  All 3,350 papers were reviewed by three referees and the decision as to what to include in the programme was not easy.  I think the result we have, however, is an exciting and interesting programme of short communications, posters and workshops.  The themes and speakers for symposia and plenary sessions have already been published in the preliminary programme.  As before the fringe session attracted a number of proposals.  A new feature this year was ‘Points of view.’  We had almost one hundred submissions in this category and from these selected two sessions each with six presentations.  An interesting thought struck me looking at the submissions.  North American proposals featured highly in the pre-conference and conference workshop sessions submitted, whereas there were very few North American contributions submitted as a ‘Points of view.’  Does this tell us something about a national culture in medical education?  Perhaps an analysis of submissions and issues arising from this could be a topic for a Diploma or Masters’ in Medical Education.
Support files: