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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69-70

Co-Editors' Notes 26:2

Co-Editors, Education for Health

Date of Web Publication29-Oct-2013

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.120690

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How to cite this article:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 26:2. Educ Health 2013;26:69-70

How to cite this URL:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 26:2. Educ Health [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Aug 11];26:69-70. Available from:

Each issue of Education for Health contains all papers that have completed the peer-review process and have been accepted since the previous issue's publication. Therefore, the contents of each issue are a profile of the best of the papers recently submitted to the journal. The papers in this issue, like all issues, reflect the broad regional location of the journal's authors. But whether due to chance or where health professions research is happening, nearly all papers in this issue address student education, and in all but one case this is medical student education. There is only one paper on residency education and one involving practicing clinicians. The journal remains equally interested in papers on education of health professionals at all levels-a hint to potential authors.

Three papers in this issue address the community preparation of clinicians-in-training. In a position paper, Mayssoon Dashash of the Ministry of Higher Education in Syria speaks to the importance of building a stronger community orientation in the education of Syrian health professionals, to include a reorientation toward health (not just disease) and orientation toward people to foster their self-empowerment, self-esteem and healthier behaviors. In an accompanying editor to Dashash's paper, Robert Woollard from Canada's University of British Columbia notes that the need for a stronger community orientation to health professions education is not unique to Syria, but it is a need shared by countries worldwide within the social accountability of academic health institutions. Woollard also points out that Dashash's recommendations for Syria are remarkable in reminding us all that ". . . even in midst of remarkable violence, constructive, purposeful, and effective action can lay foundations for a different future-one marked by responsible caring for one another . . ." A third paper in this issue, by Atcherson, Zraick and Hadden from the University of Arkansas in the US, presents data on US speech and language pathologists' and audiologists' knowledge of health literacy, an important component of community-oriented practice. They find that these communication specialists are generally aware of the importance of health literacy to patient outcomes, but they often overestimate the reading levels of average Americans and underestimate the reading level required of patient literature used in typical offices. There is need for changes in their education.

A related paper addresses the increased use of community settings in students' education within 25 medical schools in 12 African countries participating in the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), a large, US-funded program to promote the number, quality of care and community retention of physicians in Africa. Talib and colleagues from the US and Africa use survey and site visit data to characterize the community-based education components of participating schools. In the future, we look forward to learning the outcomes of the variety of community-based educational and programmatic approaches supported within the MEPI, to identify best approaches.

Four papers directly addressed or indirectly arrived at issues in the globalization of health professions education. In the first, Audcent and colleagues assess the training in global health issues received by pediatric residents across Canada. In a survey of residency program directors and chief residents, they find that there is broad agreement across programs that understanding issues in global child health is important for pediatricians, and find that global health electives were broadly offered and regarded as beneficial to learners. But this survey of residency leaders also found that programs do not offer formalized curriculum in global child health and many programs do not offer training in key topic areas. In a paper from student authors, Baig and colleagues report survey data from 400 medical students attending two public and two private medical schools in Karachi on the reasons for the increase in research activities among Pakistani medical students. Almost 9 out of 10 students reported that they intended to carry out research and one-half had done so already. Three-quarters of these students reported that one reason for pursuing research was to enhance their curriculum vitae and 43% reported that it was go help them gain a residency in the United States. Only one-third listed a personal interest in research as a reason for undertaking studies-secondary career gains from research appeared to be more important drivers of these students' research involvement than an actual interest in research. A letter from Zaidi, Anwer and Anwer also from Karachi hits on the closely related issue that many students from developing countries pursue international medical electives in developed countries to give themselves a competitive edge in landing a preferred residency outside or within their home country. As a barrier, these authors note the general lack of support available from schools within developing countries to help students arrange and fund international electives. In a fourth paper, Daniels, Nduati and Farquhar from the US and Kenya explore the reasons why Kenyan women physician-participants of the AIDS International Training and Research Program at the University of Washington elected to pursue international health research training. Through interviews with 12 program participants from the past 15 years, the main professional reasons expressed were participants' concerns for women's and children's health within the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Kenya and participants' desire to broaden their careers and the impact of their work by moving into public health and research.

Barkur and colleagues from the Manipal University in India test for associations between four types of goal orientation among second year medical students-the degree too which they are oriented towards mastery, performance approach, performance avoidance and work avoidance-and their success on first year end-of-ggrade summative examinations. Interestingly, only work avoidance orientation was associated with exam scores, that is lower academic performance. The virtues of hard work are often noted by the wise: 100 years ago Booker T. Washington, a noted African American educator and orator from the U.S. South, said 'Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.'

Two Practical Advice pieces in this issue offer guidance to early scientific authors and presenters on how to communicate work to peers. Juyal and colleagues in India describe the role of case reports and discuss good opportunities for preparing them. They offer practical advice to help authors conceptualize the writing of a case report overall and approaching each of its sections. Stephen Gambescia from Drexel University in the US provides tips for structuring abstracts for scientific publications and for presentations at professional meetings. He stresses the need for abstracts to be succinct and clear ("make every word count") and to closely follow journal and meeting requirements.

Another paper on publishing research comes from four editors of the Asian Students' Medical Journal (ASMJ). The essay by Thawani, Kaur, Chatterjee and Biswas speaks to the importance of student journals in promoting research among students, providing a publication outlet for students' research when it may not meet requirements for wider-read journals, and providing publication experience for student authors and editorial experience for student editors. They go on to note the challenges of student journals: the difficulty of finding time for the editor's role while attending school and the lack of rewards and incentives [Co-Editors' note: a lack of time and incentives also challenges faculty editors!], and the poor recognition given to student journals. These student editors point out that there is no simple solution here for student journals, but note the promise of developing collaborations, funding and greater awareness of their value and needs.

A paper by Balassoriya and colleagues from Australia presents a novel approach to curriculum evaluation using students as the "drivers" of the process. In their approach, student research assistants interviewed other medical students of the University of New South Wales to gather feedback on the school's teamwork skills curriculum. Students' input was then handled like qualitative data in a research project, where underlying themes of the curriculum's issues were identified and then used to shape recommendations to strengthen the school's approaches to teamwork skills development. The themes identified did, indeed, appear to reflect a student perspective-hard to capture in traditional evaluation-by calling for clearer demonstration of the relevance of teamwork skills and for better integration into students' actual clinical work.

Beyond being responsible for students' education, health professions educators also have a responsibility for the health of their trainees. Too often this responsibility is not addressed. Aggarwal, Anand, Kishore and Ingle from the Maulana Azad Medical College and its affiliated hospitals in New Delhi, India assess the incidence of low back pain and its correlates among 160 of their students. They find that nearly half experienced low back pain the previous year. They learn that low back pain was significantly more common among students with bad body posture, who study in bed, who have a family history of low back pain, and who carry backpacks. Low back pain was also more prevalent for those who scored higher on depression and anxiety scales and who find work monotonous. The authors noted the need to improve their school's health program for students, provide better support for student exercise and recreation opportunities, and help students lessen stress.

And Jan van Dalen, in his regular feature In the News, notes how frequently physicians are drawn to music and how many are musicians. He considers the similarities between students of music and medicine and considers the similarities and differences in the education of the two. Most importantly, van Dalen suggests that educators for both groups of learners should help them become the best professionals possible. This includes having them become excellent craftsmen-skilled with instruments and the doctor's scientific tools-and also excellent listeners and interpreters of music and patients. Both should become skilled artists of their field.

Learn from our international authors. And enjoy.


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