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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 390

Co-Editors' Notes 22:2

Co-Editors, Education for Health

Date of Submission26-Aug-2009
Date of Web Publication28-Aug-2009

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PMID: 20029758

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How to cite this article:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 22:2. Educ Health 2009;22:390

How to cite this URL:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 22:2. Educ Health [serial online] 2009 [cited 2023 Feb 3];22:390. Available from:

This mid-year issue of Education for Health overflows with good, new information for the world’s health professions educators. To start, there are three papers within a special theme on indigenous community health workers, addressing Māori workers in New Zealand, aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers in Australia and First Nation workers in Canada. An accompanying editorial by the theme’s guest editors, Drs. Tassy Parker and Arthur Kaufman, draws together the lessons from these papers and links them to the wider field that seeks to improve the health of indigenous peoples through community health workers. This approach continues to be critical, especially as we face health workforce shortages globally.

Another group of papers in this issue presents curriculum innovations at medical schools on three continents. Al-Jishi and colleagues describe medical students’ perceptions of the preparation they received through a professional skills development program introduced at the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain. Caron and Tutko describe an innovative certificate course at the University of New Hampshire in the United States that teaches essential public health principles and skills to practicing healthcare professionals. And Horstmann and associates describe a commercially available, web-based program featuring a “virtual hospital” where medical students can “provide care” for “patients”, which was introduced into the urology curriculum at the University of Tuebingen in Germany. The evaluation data for the innovations presented in each of these three papers show some outcome successes and also some shortcomings, which is to be expected of any innovation. Indeed, journal editors and reviewers are skeptical of the completeness and even-handedness of any program’s evaluation when all reported outcomes are positive. We know that there is inevitably room for improvement in education programs.

A fourth curriculum innovation presented in this issue is from the Morehouse School of Medicine in the U.S., in a paper by Dr. Blumenthal. He articulates a framework used with students at his school to help them more easily grasp how to incorporate community interventions into their work. This framework has students approach a community as if it were a patient, something with which they are familiar and more comfortable. For example, students are to use the clinical “SOAP” format when organizing subjective and objective data about the community and then articulating an assessment of the community’s issues and an intervention plan to address them.

Another group of papers in this issue addresses important broader aspects of the operations, orientations and environments of health professions schools and their faculty. Lai and associates test how students’ perceptions of five dimensions of the educational environment at the International Medical School in Malaysia relate to four realms of their self-perceived competencies. Students’ perceptions of the learning, general atmosphere and social aspects of the environment and of their own skills were associated with various aspects of their perceived competencies, such as abilities to recognize sick patients and provide counseling for common diseases. Interestingly, their perceptions of their teachers had no associations with their perceived competencies. In another paper, Benamer and colleagues analyze the volume of biomedical papers published by Libyan authors over the past 20 years using bibliometric analyses, which is an assessment of the published articles within an existing database, like Medline, to understand aspects of the published output of a group of authors or field. They conclude that the number of publications from Libya is rather low and declining, and they advocate for action by the country’s medical schools and government. Brackbill and colleagues in the U.S. queried community pharmacy preceptors’ thoughts about whether standardizing the student rotation schedules of local pharmacy schools would help preceptors better accommodate students on community rotations. Preceptors generally supported the proposed standardization of schedules but few felt this would allow them to take on more students. And Galukande and colleagues describe the careful development of a questionnaire tool to allow health professions schools in East Africa to assess the quality of the education they provide.

Twenty years ago, leaders of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (see, a World Health Organization (WHO) affiliated organization, founded Education for Health, and the organization continues to support the journal in key ways. Two papers in this issue relate to the people and programs of The Network: TUFH. The first, by González de León and Lewis, looks back over the history of the Network’s Women and Health Taskforce, reviewing the group’s efforts to articulate the rationale for and approaches to teaching women’s health issues to students. The second paper, in our “Making a Difference” feature, is an interview with Pauline Vluggen, the Network’s long-standing Executive Director. The interview reveals Vluggen’s ongoing devotion to building the quality and community relevance of health professions education worldwide.

Lastly, in a book review, Dr. Karen Peters and colleagues reflect on the recent WHO report, “Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity through Action on the Social Determinants of Health.” The Network: TUFH and the journal have long focused on the health effects of social environments and deprivation, their causes and potential remedies through governmental programs, all emphasized in this WHO report.

There is plenty to read and learn about in this issue. Enjoy!

Donald Pathman, M.D., M.P.H.

Michael Glasser, Ph.D.

Co-Editors, Education for Health


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