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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 45-47

Co-editors' Notes

1 University of Illinois, Rockford, Illinois, USA
2 National Conference of Bar Examiners, USA
3 Dr. D.Y.Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission05-Nov-2021
Date of Decision06-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance08-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication21-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Michael Glasser
University of Illinois, Rockford, Illinois
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.332957

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How to cite this article:
Glasser M, McKinley D, Bansal P. Co-editors' Notes. Educ Health 2021;34:45-7

How to cite this URL:
Glasser M, McKinley D, Bansal P. Co-editors' Notes. Educ Health [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Dec 5];34:45-7. Available from:

We will start by stating that it has been a strange and difficult time worldwide. We all face, individually and societally, daily challenges. These have only been compounded by COVID-19 – with implications for both physical and mental health and well-being, economics, politics, and education. In the past issue of Education for Health as well as in this issue, some contributions to the Journal address the pandemic as it has related to health professions education – describing challenges as well as creative responses to these challenges. This state of events will undoubtedly be a continuing topic for dialog, for which Education for Health is committed to providing a forum. In this current issue, we present papers from six countries, including Brazil, Colombia, India, Ireland, Malaysia, and the United States.

In “Perceptions of faculty toward 'social obligation' at an Indian medical school,” Dandekar et al. looked at the extent to which the concept was understood in an Indian medical school, exploring how faculty perceived and were involved in directing a response to the social obligation of their medical school. Semi-structured audio-recorded interviews were conducted by purposive sampling of faculty from different disciplines. Faculty were unfamiliar with the terms such as responsibility, responsiveness, and accountability and understanding of stakeholder roles. The researchers conclude that sensitizing students toward community needs, the impact of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, the importance of contextual curriculum, and stakeholder roles are the challenges in developing a socially accountable medical school.

From Malaysia, Azhar et al., “Self-perception of sexual harassment: A comparison between female medical and nursing students during clinical practice,” used a comparative cross-sectional design to obtain insights and understand sexual harassment from the perspective of health professions students. Nearly 18% of medical and 19% of nursing students reported having been sexually harassed. The majority of the respondents in both health professions groups indicated that sexual harassment in clinical practice was a very serious issue. Both groups of students suggested establishing rules and laws relating to sexual harassment (31% of medical and 35% of nursing students, respectively) as effective methods to prevent harassment; and both groups strongly agreed that it was very necessary to institute a sexual harassment prevention program. The authors state that while sexual harassment is not a new issue, it is time to increase public knowledge and awareness in this area.

In the study entitled, “A pilot study of the implementation and evaluation of a leadership program for medical undergraduate students: Lessons learned,” Sethi et al. contend that most Indian medical schools lack formal leadership training though students are expected to evolve into leaders. A response was formulated through the Student Leadership Program (SLP) which was designed and evaluated to incorporate leadership skills in undergraduates and to initiate change in organizational practice through the development of a Student Leadership Society. For the SLP, competencies and learning outcomes were identified in four domains: reflective writing, self-management, team management, and experiential learning; and a stepwise program was implemented over 6 months in which student participants wrote reflections at the end of each program session. Overall, students viewed assertive skills training as the most powerful learning experience within the self-management domain. In the team-management domain, the session understanding one's own leadership style was seen as the most powerful learning tool while the session on conflict management was the most difficult. A Student Leadership Society was instituted. The pilot SLP, with a strong evidence base and dedicated methodology to explicitly address leadership and opportunity for experiential learning, helped in incorporating and strengthening the leadership skills of program participants. Through analysis of participants' reflections, the program and analysis demonstrated objective evidence of behavioral change and understanding of the underlying factors which make the learning of a particular leadership skill effective.

Coakley and Pribis, in “Dietetics students' perceptions of classroom-based learning activities,” from the USA, point out that the profession of nutrition and dietetics has expanded rapidly, and as of July 2021, nearly 220 undergraduate-level Didactic Programs in Dietetics in the United States are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. This pilot study aimed to evaluate undergraduate nutrition students' perceptions of 16 classroom-based learning activities before and after taking an upper-level nutrition course. Postcourse, compared to baseline, students were more likely to agree that activities more helpful to them were critical thinking, integrating material from other courses, interviewing professionals, case studies, writing short reports and summaries, and group projects. The authors conclude that instructors may consider implementing a variety of both traditional and active learning strategies in upper-level nutrition and health-related courses to facilitate learning.

In their commentary, Ahmed and Borghol, from the USA, “All Eyes On Me: Remote online assessments for health professions programs during a pandemic,” explain that due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, learning institutions were faced with many challenges while transitioning their in-person courses to an online format for teaching, learning, and testing. One challenge included the continuation of assessments safely and securely. The authors point out that there are specific changes that can be made to online assessments to minimize cheating and collaboration with peers, including proctoring systems, minimizing testing time, backward navigation to previous questions, randomizing questions and options, using higher-order critical thinking questions, and having a back-up assessment for people who experience technical difficulties while trying to complete remote assessment. The authors conclude that objective and subjective data need to be collected to assess the efficacy of the different approaches used by professional health institutions. Further, educational systems may need to explore the ideas of reassessing some of the lessons taught during the pandemic period to assure the efficiency of the different strategies that were enforced.

In a student-authored contribution to this issue, “Knowledge and attitude of dental students of Navi Mumbai on tobacco cessation counseling: A cross-sectional study,” Vashi et al. indicate that related to tobacco cessation, there are lack of knowledge, lack of tobacco cessation support, and strong cultural habits which influence inability to quit tobacco use. Yet, dentists are less likely, compared to physicians and other health professionals, to provide tobacco cessation education – tobacco cessation counseling is not yet a part of routine dental practice and not incorporated into the dental program. The researchers examined knowledge and attitudes of dental students related to tobacco cessation counseling, using a cross-sectional, survey-based study. Three-quarters of study respondents indicated that they were not sufficiently trained to provide cessation counseling, but 84% were willing to counsel their patients and nearly 90% agreed that counseling patients on tobacco cessation is their duty. Overall, dental students lacked confidence in providing counseling due to lack of knowledge on tobacco cessation, but the majority were motivated to undertake special training for counseling.

In this issue, we also include four Letters to the Editor – two addressing the impact of COVID-19. Ardila and Gomez-Restrepo, from Colombia, in “Dental students, stress, and physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic,” make the case that knowing that dental education is psychologically stressful, and fatiguing, dental students' mental health, as well as potential academic performance, will be compromised. Therefore, dental school faculty must promote some form of home or indoor exercises to dental students to help improve their mental health. Chambers et al., in Ireland, contribute “Maintaining patient participation in medical education in the context of a pandemic,” in which they observe the need for patients having a greater role in the planning and delivery of all facets of healthcare provision, including the education of healthcare professionals. They state that we know that patients are already successfully schooling health professions students on the emotional, psychological, financial, and social impacts of their illness, but this is often in an informal ad hoc manner. The challenge for educators is to move patient involvement from passive roles to a more active contribution in the education of doctors in training – a direction that is all the more important in a time where real patient contact during a pandemic is severely limited.

In a letter from the USA, “Does resident teaching improve medical students' NBME knowledge and satisfaction with residents as teachers,” Pugh and Latch point out that despite formal training, residents are often tasked with a key role of contributing to the clinical education of medical students, putting them in a unique position in which they are not professional educators but are expected to teach while they themselves continue to learn. The educators share their experience in introducing a resident-developed pediatric review and the positive impact on both medical students' NBME pediatric examination scores and medical students' perceptions of residents as teachers. With it being mandatory in India for all faculty members working in Medical Council of India recognized colleges to have a certain number of publications for promotion, Manjareeka provides an assessment in “Postgraduate student research publication and scientific misconduct: An Indian scenario.” Very often, a postgraduate researcher keeps work with the intention of publication in the future at or near the time of promotion considerations to the next academic level. The lengthy gap in time between graduation and promotion leads to both scientific misconduct and intellectual dishonesty as unpublished theses are very easily accessible to the community at large. The author urges all new graduates to publish their work as soon as possible after completing their degree, as a system-wide approach to avoid situations involving misconduct and intellectual dishonesty in a “publish or perish” environment.

Finally, we wanted to alert you to an Education for Health Special Series on Health Workforce Education Programs and Policy Related to Mental Health Issues to be inaugurated in 2022. Be on the lookout for a Call for Papers.

Keep reading and be safe.


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