Education for Health

: 2013  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 194-

Multi-professionalism for medical education in developing countries

Dixon Thomas, Seeba Zachariah, Gerardo Alvarez-Uria 
 RDT Hospital, Bathalapalli, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dixon Thomas
Head, Drug Information Center, RDT Hospital, Bathalapalli, Anantapur - 515 661, Andhra Pradesh

How to cite this article:
Thomas D, Zachariah S, Alvarez-Uria G. Multi-professionalism for medical education in developing countries.Educ Health 2013;26:194-194

How to cite this URL:
Thomas D, Zachariah S, Alvarez-Uria G. Multi-professionalism for medical education in developing countries. Educ Health [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 Sep 23 ];26:194-194
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

While drafting the eligibility criteria for teachers, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has planned to restrict professionals other than conventional medical graduates from teaching in medical schools. [1] This trend has also been seen in pharmacy and nursing education, where graduates from the same discipline are given priority at the time of selecting teachers for their undergraduate education.

The reasons behind this academic "endogamy" are difficult to understand. It might be stated that graduates of the same discipline are more suitable to teach students of the same discipline (i.e., doctors are better taught by doctors, nurses are better taught by nurses…). However, we believe that many subjects included in the healthcare professional education syllabuses could be better taught by specialists from other disciplines.

In these times, delivering healthcare is a team effort. Medical doctors take clinical decisions based on discussions and consultations with allied healthcare professionals. Implementation of clinical or public health interventions is largely a multi-professional effort. [2]

In addition, most new advances in modern medicine could not be achieved without multi-professional contributors working together. [3] Medicine must open its door to any kind of healthcare technology in all systems of medicine in order to develop evidence-based recommendations on safety, efficacy and affordability of healthcare interventions. This can only be accomplished with multi-disciplinary teams of professionals from different interlinked sciences, such as chemistry, physics, pharmacology, microbiology, biotechnology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, genomics, etc.

Health education should also adopt the multi-disciplinary approach because collaborations between different disciplines are likely to significantly improve the education of healthcare professionals. [4] Although this approach has been implemented in developed countries, [5] it is relatively rare in many low- or middle-income countries such as India, where academic "endogamy" is the rule.

We believe that restricting nonmedical professionals from teaching medical students will not improve the medical education in developing countries. Furthermore, this is likely to make it more difficult to perform high-quality research in medical schools. Ideally, university departments should be formed around a multi-disciplinary team, and the selection of teachers should be made according to the merits of the candidates, without any restrictions.


1Egazette [Internet]. Available from: [Last cited on 2013 Aug 08].
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3Kislov R, Harvey G, Walshe K. Collaborations for leadership in applied health research and care: Lessons from the theory of communities of practice. Implement Sci IS 2011;6:64.
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5Jorgenson D, Muller A, Whelan AM, Buxton K. Pharmacists teaching in family medicine residency programs: National survey. Can Fam Physician 2011;57:e341-6.