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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 430

Co-Editors' Notes 22:3

Co-Editors, Education for Health

Date of Submission05-Dec-2009
Date of Web Publication09-Dec-2009

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 20029775

How to cite this article:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 22:3. Educ Health 2009;22:430

How to cite this URL:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 22:3. Educ Health [serial online] 2009 [cited 2022 Jan 19];22:430. Available from:

In recent decades, the importance of healthcare’s and education’s social and community context has become widely recognized. A practice focused only on healthcare’s technical aspects will have limited effectiveness with patients from diverse cultures, and a uniform approach to teaching will not meet the needs of students from diverse backgrounds. More than half of the papers in this issue of Education for Health address community and cultural aspects of healthcare and education.

In a paper on the Observer Program of the Redland Hospital in Queensland Australia, Dr. McGrath and colleagues describe their approach to acclimating physicians trained in other countries to the practice of medicine and the healthcare system of Australia. In a second paper, Dr. Balcazar and his colleagues working along the U.S.-Mexican border describe their application of the methods of community-based participatory research to incorporate community perspectives into their intervention to reduce cardiovascular risks in Mexican-Americans. A "Letter to the Editor" by Dr. Stewart and colleagues describes workshops to help people of the Lower Mississippi Delta Region of the U.S. better appreciate research and the value of research participation to help them become more effective collaborators in developing a community-based nutrition program. In a paper on cultural issues in education, Dr. Slimmer and colleagues describe the difficulties that nursing students from non-Western countries encounter when communicating with faculty and patients at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the U.S. In a "Practical Advice" paper, they describe their Communicating Across Cultures program which, among other interventions, offers a curriculum to help these international students better understand health, care, patient expectations and communication styles in the U.S., and helps build these students’ communication, assertiveness and academic skills.

Dr. Sranacharoenpong and colleagues describe an education program in diabetes prevention for community health workers in Thailand, a program that combines classroom and e-learning teaching approaches. In this issue’s “Making a Difference”, an interview with Dr. Rita Giacaman also describes a training program for community health workers, in this case within the West Bank region of Palestine. Dr. Giacaman discusses decades of work with her colleagues at Birzeit University, where they came to understand the social forces affecting local health—poverty, poor sanitation, inadequate housing, poor nutrition—and found solutions in the training of community health workers, a diploma program in primary care, and a masters program in public health.

For our medical educator-readers interested in learner evaluation, this issue of the journal offers three papers. Professor Abdelkhalek and colleagues at University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates present a novel program wherein faculty physicians serve as simulated patients and, simultaneously, as evaluators in a summative Objective Structured Clinical Examination of their students. Outcome assessments by both students and faculty were generally positive. In another paper, Dr. Starmer and colleagues in the U.S. find that having a physician-teacher present in the exam room during patient visits with pediatric residents is generally perceived positively by both the children’s parents and the residents. Lastly, Dr. Michels and colleagues in Belgium demonstrate reliability in faculty assessments of information in a 15-item learning portfolio used with final-year medical students rotating on clinical services. The researchers also found that a shorter and more convenient 13-item portfolio assessed by a single faculty evaluator remained reliable.

Two papers in this issue call for fundamental changes in the education of health professions students. A "Practical Advice" paper by Professors McLean and Gibbs addresses the important but uncomfortable truth that learner-centered approaches that are so widely espoused in medical education often do not, in practice, support the emotional and psychological needs of students or their individual learning styles. These authors offer suggestions for how educators can better meet the needs of individual learners within learner-centered curricula to reduce their stress, burnout and loss of idealism and caring in their work. In a position paper of The Network: Towards Unity for Health, authors Christobal, Engel and Talati speak to the responsibilities of all institutions of higher education, including those in the health professions, to equip learners with skills they will need to adapt to the many changes they will surely encounter during their careers, including changes within their fields and in all realms of their work and lives.

Three papers address other training topics in health. In an interesting, qualitative study Dr. Hult and colleagues assess how health practitioners approach their teaching roles with patients, such as how they attempt to educate patients to change their behaviors. The investigators find that practitioners’ pedagogical approaches with patients are frequently not well or thoroughly planned. In another qualitative study, Dr. Gillies and colleagues analyze the statements of first-year medical students at the University of Georgia in the southeastern U.S. about why they chose a career in medicine and what they believe are the attributes of a good physician. And a study by Professor Winkelman and colleagues finds that not all students who are earning teaching credentials at the California State University, Northridge in the U.S. anticipate that they will be willing to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation to their own future students, should the need arise. The authors suggest modifications to the training of these teachers-to-be so that they will more often be willing to provide CPR in the classroom.

Two final papers offer tributes. The first is a “mosaic of obituaries” from colleagues honoring the life and memory of Professor Dieter Scheffner, an influential and inspirational German medical educator and innovator. The second, a letter by Professor Engel, provides personal reflections on some of the many accomplishments of Pauline Vluggen, a past Co-Editor of Education for Health who was featured in last issue’s “Making a Difference” interview. This fall, Pauline stepped down as Executive Director of The Network: TUFH. To Engel’s expressions of gratitude we, the current editors of the Journal, add our own personal thanks to Pauline for her many contributions to the Journal in recent years. We offer our very best wishes to her and her husband, René Verspeek, for the loveliest of futures and for continued success and fulfillment in their ongoing efforts to help create a better world.

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

Michael Glasser, Ph.D.

Co-Editors, Education for Health


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