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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 65-67

Co-Editors' Notes 29:2

1 Co-Editor, Education for Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
2 Co-Editor, Education for Health, University of Illinois, Rockford, Illinois, USA

Date of Web Publication19-Aug-2016

Correspondence Address:
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.188681

How to cite this article:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 29:2. Educ Health 2016;29:65-7

How to cite this URL:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' Notes 29:2. Educ Health [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Jan 19];29:65-7. Available from:

Papers in this issue of Education for Health are rich in the breadth of topics they address in the fields of health professions education and community health. Some papers test innovative approaches to teaching emerging topics in health professions education, like global health and social determinants of health. Other papers address innovative approaches to teaching well established topics in health professions education, such as using CT scan images in teaching gross anatomy and having students apply scientific inquiry, game play and computer simulations to understand concepts of population protective effects of vaccines. Other papers address broader social and political aspects of health professions education, including the healthcare workforce effects of a country's education reform and the importance for students who train in distant countries to understand the local culture of faculty and native students of their schools. Still other papers address students' roles as peer educators and as scientific authors.

"Lessons Learned from the Disruption of Dental Training of Malaysian Students Studying in Egypt during the Arab Spring" by Sajjan and colleagues is one of several papers recently received by Education for Health related to the sad reality that many health professions students and educators live, learn and work in politically unstable countries. In this particular paper, the authors address the situation where students who elect to train in distant countries, whether for reasons of educational quality, opportunity or low cost, find themselves needing to escape back home when political turmoil erupts where they are attending school. What then are the responsibilities and possible remedies of students' home countries? These authors describe how schools in Malaysia responded to help dental students whose training was disrupted by political unrest in Egypt.

Medical educators and workforce planners in many countries have sought to understand the specialty choices made by medical students and their reasons. Ibrahim and colleagues, in "Reducing the Physician Workforce Crisis: Career Choice and Graduate Medical Education Reform in an Emerging Arab Country," conduct what is apparently the first such study among residency applicants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Primary care residencies (other than obstetrics/gynecology), emergency medicine and surgery were the preferred choices. The field's income potential was not among the top self-reported factors behind applicants' choices, but physicians in other countries have similarly claimed income not important in their specialty choices, but objective evidence suggests otherwise. [1]

In "Reflective Learning in Community-based Dental Education," Deogade and Naitam discuss the benefits of moving portions of dental students' education into community clinical settings. They discuss the importance and ways to build reflective learning into the community rotation experience to help students gain deeper insights from the patients and situations they encounter, develop problem-solving skills and build skills for life-long learning.

A number of papers in this issue present and evaluate unique curricula and assessment approaches. Llambi et al., in "Teaching Tobacco Cessation to Large Student Cohorts Through Train-the-Trainers and Problem-Based Learning Strategies," describe and evaluate a well-designed program in Uruguay to first enhance the-tobacco management skills of faculty who then teach medical students about the health effects of tobacco use and the fundamentals of motivational counseling to help patients quit. The program thus employs both a train-the-trainers approach with faculty and a problem-based learning approach with students. Presenting another innovative curriculum in a practical advice paper entitled "Self-directed Learning Modules of CT Scan Images to Improve Students' Perception of Gross Anatomy," Kumar et al. describe a week-long program that presents students with computerized tomography images of a region of the body on the first day, then on the second day presents traced images on which students are to identify anatomic structures, and provides the answer key on the last day. In "Developing and Pilot Testing of a Tool for 'Clinicosocial Case Study' Assessment of Community Medicine Residents," Gohel and colleagues test an application of the mini-clinical evaluation exercise (mini-CEX) approach in formative assessment of the cognitive, psychomotor and affective aspects of Community Medicine Residents' skills in addressing a patient's clinical situation embedded within the their community context. They find this to be a promising approach to providing richer feedback to residents, but also find that more work is needed to increase consistency across faculty evaluators. And in "Educating Medical Students about Military Health: Perspectives from a Multidisciplinary Lecture Initiative," Theophanous and colleagues note the need for all physicians to understand the special health needs and health care approaches required by active military personnel, veterans and their families. These authors describe a voluntary, four-lecture curriculum for medical students on these topics.

In "Medical Students' Epistemological Beliefs: Implications for Curriculum," Assenheimer and colleagues assess and contrast the epistemological beliefs-how people understand knowledge itself-of first year medical students in Australia and Malaysia, to understand how these beliefs may be important in to their medical education and practice. Using the Discipline Focused Epistemological Belief questionnaire, they find that Australian students score similar in their epistemological beliefs to that previously reported for science students in the United States, but Malaysian students more strongly believed in factual accuracy, the knowledge held by authoritative sources, and a single and external nature of knowledge.

In "A Medical School's Approach to Meeting the Challenges of Interdisciplinary Global Health Education for Resident Physicians," Carlough and colleagues assess the barriers residents face in undertaking global health educational experiences, and they describe how their school in the Southeastern U.S. has addressed these barriers. The authors describe the activities of their school's Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, which provides a standardized approach to help residency directors and residents of all disciplines navigate the many administrative and logistical hurdles to safely participating in a quality global health experience. The Institute also offers an educational curriculum in global health provided through lectures, workshops, discussions and journal clubs, available to residents of all disciplines.

Dr. Walls and colleagues in the U.S., in "Using Scientific Inquiry to Increase Knowledge of Vaccine Theory and Infectious Diseases," describe and evaluate an innovative laboratory exercise in which students in a doctorate of pharmacy program use game play and computer simulations to gain a deep sense of the variables that determine the effectiveness of vaccines on population health. At the other end of infectious disease management-hospital preparedness to safely handle patients with highly contagious diseases-Dr. Wangsgard and colleagues describe the use of in situ simulations to identify holes in all steps of patient care, from patient arrival at the hospital to intensive care unit management, that can expose hospital personnel and then others to patients' illnesses, in "Simulation and Lessons Learned from the Ebola Epidemic."

Two papers in this issue are authored by medical students. Yassar Alamri, in "How Do Medical Student Journals Fare? A Global Survey of Journals Run by Medical Students," finds that there are a moderate number of student-run journals around the world, but that some do not remain active long and their visibility to readers and influence on clinical practice and research are often poor. In "Which Peer Teaching Methods Do Medical Students Prefer?" Jayakumar et al. find that when asked if they preferred to be taught by peers in large versus small group settings, nearly half of the responding students at their school had no preference and another half preferred small group settings. Most students saw shortcomings in large group instruction led by peers.

In another paper on peers as teachers, Gaughf and Foster offer advice on how to establish a peer tutoring program, in "Implementing a Centralized Institutional Peer Tutoring Program." They discuss the benefits of setting clear guidelines in which peer tutors and students work, only allowing students to request peer tutoring after the second week of classes when their need for tutoring can be clear, and using an on-line system to manage the pairing and interactions of students and peer tutors.

Dr. Shaban and colleagues, in "Factors Influencing Medical Students' Self-Assessment of Examination Performance Accuracy: A United Arab Emirates Study," recognize the importance of health professionals' ability to accurately understand how much they do and don't know on a given topic, as a central skill of professionalism and lifelong learning. Accordingly, they assess factors that differentiate medical students who can more accurately predict how well they will do on exams. Predictions were more accurate for male students and those who felt better prepared and who were more confident about their performance.

In "A Comparison of Medical Students', Residents' and Tutors' Attitudes towards Communication Skills Learning," Molinuevo and colleagues in Spain find that physician learners and faculty are comparable in readily recognizing the importance of training in communication skills. Within each of the three groups tested-students, residents and physician tutors-women rated the positive aspects of communication skills training higher than men and also rated the negative aspects lower.

In the first of two Letters to the Editor, Reddy and colleagues from Puducherry, India surveyed laboratory technicians in their academic hospital asking them to characterize and rate the community medicine education they had received as students. The authors conclude that based on the diverse and not always positive educational experiences of these practicing technicians, Indian authorities should standardize the duration, timing and content of community medicine curriculum for students of the Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology degree in India. In a second letter, Joko Gunawan et al. describe key features of Thai culture that are important for international students training in Thailand to understand. By recognizing the importance in Thai culture of embracing power distance, collectivism, femininity and avoidance of uncertainty, non-Thai students can better understand the behaviors of their peer Thai students and understand the behaviors expected of them, thereby lessening miscommunication.

Dr. Karen Peters, an associate editor of Education for Health, reviews the book and accompanying multi-media resources, "Millions Saved: New Cases of Proven Success in Global Health," edited by Amanda Glassman and Miriam Temin. Dr. Peters finds the 22 cases described in this volume to be comprehensive and compelling and a great resource-with freely available on-line video clips, graphics, narratives and other resources-for those wishing to learn from others' successful interventions in global health.

We anticipate that these papers from educators, innovators and researchers around the globe will provide important lessons to Education for Health's readers, who are also educators, researchers and innovators around the globe.

  References Top

Ebell MH. Future salary and US residency fill rate revisited. JAMA 2008;300:1131-2.  Back to cited text no. 1


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