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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 703

Co-Editors' Notes 24:2

Co-Editors, Education for Health

Date of Web Publication15-Dec-2012

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

How to cite this article:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 24:2. Educ Health 2011;24:703

How to cite this URL:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 24:2. Educ Health [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Jan 19];24:703. Available from:

As Education for Health is a scholarly journal, we typically begin our Co-Editors' Notes by first describing the issue's data-based papers published as 'Original Research Papers.' We instead begin here by noting that this issue celebrates Professor Jan van Dalen's 25 th installment of his column 'In the News! An Opinion.' In his pieces, van Dalen, of Maastricht University, touches on some large or small recent happening, issue or trend in health professions education gleaned from a recent meeting, a published paper or report, or simply something he has thought about. As regular readers know, van Dalen's issues are invariably important and interesting, and he addresses them with insight, wisdom, humor, personal reflection and warmth. In this issue, he reflects on the pros and cons of using skills labs to teach health professions students how to communicate with patients, noting the ways that learning effective communication is and is not like learning more concrete medical skills. We thank Professor van Dalen, a member of our Editorial Board team, for regularly sharing his wisdom and helping make Education for Health an interesting and important journal.

And now, let's move on to this issue's data-based papers.

In 'Value of a Health Behavior Change Reflection Assignment for Health Promotion Learning,' Lee and colleagues describe an innovative curriculum to help addictions counseling students at their Canadian school understand at a deeper, personal level the challenges patients face in making health behavior changes. By having students set personal goals for a health behavior change-e.g., weight loss, smoking cessation, stress management-and then reflect on and document their experiences as they strive to make these changes, students better realized the challenges their patients face in addressing their addictions. Students may thereby become more empathetic and successful clinicians.

Kommalage and Thabrew in 'Student-led Peer-assisted Learning: The Kuppi Experience at the Medical School of the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka' describe an intricate, student organized and taught curriculum that parallels the school's official curriculum. This study's evaluation finds that like peer-assisted learning at other institutions, this student-led curriculum is a response to overcome the challenges for students within the formal curriculum. For these students, this second curriculum provided a way to review material, fill in curricular gaps and deliver material through teachers who communicate better with students. Students' connections with the student-teachers and the informal teaching settings of this peer-assisted teaching program were perceived to contribute to its successes with students.

In 'Change in Medical Students' Readiness for Self-directed Learning after a Partially Problem-based Learning First Year Curriculum at the KIST Medical College in Lalitpur, Nepal,' Shankar and colleagues assess the readiness of incoming medical students to be active learners. Whether because of their young age or the passive learning processes of their previous education, the authors find that students of their school begin with lower self-directed learning scores than have been reported in other countries and for other health professions students. During the first year in a student-focused learning curriculum, students improved in only some aspects of self-directed learning.

Jahan and colleagues at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan compare students' and the faculty's ratings of students' performance in their paper, 'Clinical Skills Assessment: Comparison of Student and Examiner Assessment in an Objective Structured Clinical Examination.' They find with faculty assessments as the standard, students appropriately assessed their skills in some areas (e.g., exploring the presenting problem and family history), overestimated their skills in other areas (history-taking and abdominal exam) and underestimated their skills in procedures. The authors point out that accurately assessing one's skills is important to the practice of medicine and to self-directed, life-long learning.

In 'Evaluation of an Interprofessional Education Communication Skills Initiative,' Solomon and Salfi at the McMaster University in Canada describe an interprofessional learning experience that incorporated aspects of problem-based and cooperative learning and the use of standardized patients. In three-hour faculty-assisted sessions where patients are interviewed and care plans jointly generated and then the experience discussed, students in medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, midwifery, physician assistant and pharmacy felt they learned how to better communicate with one another, better articulate for the perspectives of their own disciplines and better understood others' roles and scope of practice. The experience was generally well regarded.

Schools value tools that allow them to select among student applicants and also anticipate the likelihood of success of individual matriculated students. Alnasir and Jaradat, in 'The Effectiveness of the AGU-MCAT in Predicting Medical Student Performance in Year One of the College of Medicine of the Arabian Gulf University,' describe and evaluate a three-part measurement approach that assesses medical school applicants' science knowledge, their English reading and listening skills and their personal qualities through an interview. The authors find that matriculants' science examination scores from the AGU-MCAT, and not their high school science grades, best predicted students' success in the first-year curriculum, where courses focus primarily on the sciences and also English and Islamic studies.

Stromberg and colleagues in the United States and Kenya describe an initiative that uses community health workers to reach parents in remote rural villages with information to prevent malaria infections in children. In 'A Community Health Worker Program for the Prevention of Malaria in Eastern Kenya,' they document increased knowledge among parents and greater use of insect-treated bednets.

This issue also includes the following three Brief Communications:

Gallagher and Newman from the University of Otago in New Zealand report interview data from rural physician faculty involved in teaching medical students on distant, community-based rotations. In 'Feeling Connected: Technology and the Support of Clinical Teachers in Distant Locations,' rural faculty stressed the importance of feeling connected to the school and with each other, and where videoconferencing appeared to offer a promising mechanism for doing that.

In their Brief Communication, 'Changes in Healthcare Workers' Knowledge about Tuberculosis Following a Tuberculosis Training Programme,' Naidoo and colleagues present pre-post program data to assess improvement in community nurses', doctors' and other health workers' knowledge of appropriate care in tuberculosis. The program was based on training materials from the World Health Organization and the International Union against TB and Lung Disease, covering eight areas including disease detection, counseling, drug management and monitoring. Only modest improvements in knowledge scores were found and challenges are discussed.

In a last Brief Communication, Krägeloh and colleagues discuss the growing worldwide recognition of the importance of people's quality of life. They then discuss how medical students' quality of life has implications for their future patients and careers. They test the psychometric properties of the short version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) questionnaire with medical students, and confirm the measure's four domain factor structure and scale reliability but note several items ill-suited for students.

Next, in a Review Article, van Dijk et al. address the topic of the appropriateness of drugs donated to developing countries by well-intended governmental and non-governmental organizations and others. In 1999, the World Health Organization issued guidelines to help avoid the problems with donated medications not being used safely and appropriately by recipient practitioners, their distortion of markets for cheaper generics and the costs they carry for recipient countries for storage and destruction. In a review of 25 published and unpublished reports since 1999, the authors conclude that the evidence suggests that inappropriate drug donations are still common.

In a Practical Advice piece entitled, 'One Day-One Problem Problem-based Learning (ODOP-PBL) for Continuing Education of Health Professionals,' De Virgilio presents an applied problem-based learning approach used in short courses offered by staff of the Italian National Health Service. He offers details of this approach - enough for others who want to replicate this curriculum - and presents data to demonstrate that participating health professionals found the course effective.

This issue finishes with five interesting Letters to the Editor. Dr. Moslemi discusses the experiences faced in changing bed-side instruction from Persian language to English in the Kamkar Hospital School of Medicine in Qom, Iran. Ranasinghe and colleagues at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka present their experiences using a skills workbook to assist students in organizing their self-directed learning needs and documenting knowledge gained. Ms. Khowaja at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan discusses the worldwide importance of avoidable errors in medical care and the roles that patients, practitioners, hospitals, administrators and governments should play in minimizing errors. Drs. Abraham, Adiga and George at the Melaka Manipal Medical College in Manipal, India discuss the use of a video to orient new students to the processes they will use in a problem-based learning curriculum. And Dr. Aboulsoud of the Cairo University in Egypt discusses the relative benefits of formative and summative assessment in medical education.

In all, another very full, varied and rich issue. Enjoy. Learn.

Donald Pathman, MD, MPH

Michael Glasser, PhD

Co-Editors, Education for Health


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