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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 116-117

Co-Editors Notes 28:2

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

Date of Web Publication21-Nov-2015

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.170130

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How to cite this article:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors Notes 28:2. Educ Health 2015;28:116-7

How to cite this URL:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors Notes 28:2. Educ Health [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Jun 2];28:116-7. Available from:

Readers of Education for Health will note that some papers in this issue highlight educational innovations and ways to strengthen the learning environment for health profession students. But just as many other papers here identify issues and shortcomings of a variety of current educational approaches and systems, including the under-preparation of peer teachers, the limits to learner assessment in distance education, institutional barriers to disseminating student research, and the consequences of stress in medical education and of its unequal social hierarchy. Learning from both the successes and shortcomings of our educational programs shows us the way to strengthen our education programs. This issue so dually informs us.

Looking first to the positive, Sweet and Palazzi, in "Application of Kern's Six-Step Approach to Curriculum Development by Global Health Residents," describes how pediatric residents of the University of Connecticut were able to apply Kern's well-accepted model when learning how to design educational sessions on nutrition and hygiene for children and families in Guatemala. With the foundation of Kern's model, residents felt that the educational programs they developed were better culturally aligned with the needs of the learners, better focused, and more effectively delivered. Using Kern's model, these pediatric residents felt more confident in their new role as educators.

Three papers in this issue present curriculum innovations. Shaw, Mitchell, and Del Fabbro address Australia's commitment to provide an effective and satisfying learning environment for its international students, and to teach international perspectives on health and social issues to its domestic students. At the bachelor of nursing degree program at the Menzies Health Institute of the Griffith University in Queensland, they describe the creation of learner groups, purposefully mixing both international and domestic students to carry out carefully guided structured group work. Through discussions, student groups allow international and domestic students to learn together and share perspectives.

In "Laying the Groundwork for Tobacco Cessation Education in Medical Colleges in Indonesia," Prabandari et al., from the Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia and the University of Arizona in the USA remind us that 67% of men in Indonesia smoke, they begin smoking at young age, and that the medical profession and others in Indonesia are doing little to reduce tobacco use. They describe Project Quit Tobacco Indonesia (Project QTI), a carefully developed curriculum to teach medical students the harms of tobacco use and skills to conduct a tobacco cessation intervention with patients. Project QTI is available on-line free to other schools.

Ayub and colleagues in Pakistan and the United Arabs Emirates describe the social and educational challenges to health in Pakistan, as in many countries, and the promise held by service-learning, where energetic students can help communities address their challenges while simultaneously learning about community issues and practicing the skills to intervene. In "Improving Health Literacy of Women about Iron Deficiency Anemia and Civic Responsibility of Students through Service-Learning," the authors describe a service-learning project that enlisted 13 1st year students of a women's college to teach 65 women about iron deficiency anemia, a common health issue in Indonesia. Program evaluation using carefully chosen evaluation tools showed students grew in their sense of civic responsibility and confidence in many aspects of communication, and the community women demonstrated greater knowledge of iron deficiency anemia.

Over the past decade, educators and government regulators in some countries have sought to reduce the number of hours that residents work without breaks and total in a week. Efforts to limit residents' hours raise concerns that there will be less opportunity to learn. In "Residents' and Attendings' Perceptions of a Night Float System in an Internal Medicine Program in Canada," Saxena and colleagues at the University of Saskatchewan assess the perceptions of internal medicine residents and faculty of a new night float system that limits 2nd and 3rd year residents to five 12-h shifts each week. Through surveys, residents generally voiced that the night float system enhanced opportunities to learn and provided them with greater support and supervision, and both residents and faculty felt that it enhanced resident well-being and improved patient safety. Faculty were concerned about more frequent patient handovers between shifts of residents and reduced continuity of care.

In their commentary, "Ongoing Faculty Development for Peer Tutors: A Widely Neglected Need " Jayasinghe and colleagues in England speak to the growing use and benefits of students as peer tutors. These authors point out that peer tutors are often trained up front for their roles, but that the literature has said little about any ongoing faculty development for them to continue to build their teaching skills. In a survey of medical schools in the UK, they find that only two schools provide any type of ongoing development of peer tutors.

Khani and his colleagues on the Student Research Committee of the Babol University of Medical Sciences in Iran wonder if student abstracts written in English rather than their country's primary language of Persian and reviewed for a student scientific meeting that have an undue advantage. In "Higher Acceptance Rates for Abstracts Written in English at a National Research Student Meeting in a non-English Speaking Country," the authors find that abstracts submitted in English were more likely to be accepted and, if accepted, more likely to be accepted for presentation in oral rather than poster formats. The student and authors wonder if student reviewers in non-English speaking countries have the language abilities to identify weaknesses in abstracts submitted in English.

This issue's five strong Letters to the Editor, all highlight challenges in health care and health professions education. Sahai and colleagues found that 1st year medical students of Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, are more likely to report that they would approach a physician who had neglected to wash her/his hands in a clinical setting than either senior medical students or family medicine residents. The authors hypothesize that students begin their training as idealists, then are influenced by the power differential and hierarchy of their educational setting, and become less likely to act on what they inherently believe they should do for the good of patients. This is troubling.

A letter from Pruthi and colleagues at the University College of Health Sciences in Delhi, India, addresses the tragedy of suicide among medical students and the pressures of medical education. The authors note that countries rarely have accurate data on rates of suicide among medical students. They searched reports in the lay press to find accounts of 16 medical student suicides in India over a recent 4-year period. The news accounts reflect some of the circumstances and reasons for these tragedies.

A letter from Ahmed et al. presents survey data from physicians at various career stages working at the Khartoum Teaching Hospital, Sudan's largest referral center, to learn about the status of evidence-based medicine (EBM) in Sudan. They find that these Sudanese physicians held generally positive views about EBM, but demonstrated weak knowledge of some of its most important concepts, reported that they often did not practice EBM and identified barriers to its use. Similar challenges about the application of EBM are reported in a letter from Panhale and Bellare about the status of EBM among physiotherapists practicing in Mumbai, India. Like Ahmed's findings for physicians in Khartoum, Panhale and Bellare find that physiotherapists in Mumbai generally have positive attitudes about EBM, but many reports that they had not learned its foundations during their training.

A letter from Nwose and Bwititi in Australia speaks to the known limitations of relying on unsupervised online tests when assessing learners participating in distance education programs, especially to assess clinical reasoning and practical skills. These authors propose an alternative approach for assessing laboratory professionals involved in in-service training: Use data collected as part of the quality control programs in which their labs participate, as a variation of problem-based learning.

The education innovations offered by half of these papers and the challenges identified by the other half of the papers can help us both to build better educational programs and to better support learners.


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