Education for Health

: 2015  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 158--159

Co-Editors' notes 28:3

Donald Pathman1, Michael Glasser2,  
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

Correspondence Address:

How to cite this article:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' notes 28:3.Educ Health 2015;28:158-159

How to cite this URL:
Pathman D, Glasser M. Co-Editors' notes 28:3. Educ Health [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Jan 27 ];28:158-159
Available from:

Full Text

This newest issue of Education for Health presents papers covering all aspects of the journal's broad foci in health professions education and innovations, education in and for communities, and community interventions.

But first, there is a tribute to the reviewers of Education for Health. The foundation of all academic journals is peer review. Journals rely on reviewers' willingness to give their time and expertise to review, vet and improve authors' work, performed in their devotion to the quality of their field's published science and its expressed views. With Education for Health's broad focus and manuscript contributions from around the world, its editors are especially indebted to the journal's reviewers, who can speak knowledgably to the content of papers on diverse topics and to papers' innovativeness and importance in the parts of the world from which they are written. Education for Health would not exist without these reviewers. We sincerely thank them.

Two papers in this issue present innovative online curricula. In “Facebook as a Learning Environment for Teaching Medical Emergencies in Dental Practice,” Alshiekhly et al of the Damascus University assessed the use within dental education of this ubiquitous social media tool. A one-month curriculum wherein the faculty attempted to remain in the background to encourage student participation garnered 61 posts from students. The curriculum was well received and led to broad increases in learners' self-assessments of their skills managing dental emergencies. The authors attributed the program's successes to Facebooks' flexibility and students' familiarity with it, but a lack of course credit contributed to a high dropout rate among participants.

Batista et al combine two educational approaches well established in health professions training—problem-based learning and online learning—to test the effectiveness of Online Problem-Based learning (OPBL) for community family physician learners in Brazil. The authors devised a 120 hour course on the medical care of elderly persons with dementia, with 100 hours conducted online. The well thought out curriculum included Virtual Tutorial Groups comprised of 10 to 15 family physicians participating in asynchronous communications through a whiteboard as well as synchronous communications via chats to carry out the cardinal steps of PBL. Participants demonstrated meaningful knowledge gains.

Prabandari and colleagues in Indonesia and the U.S. present another innovative educational program, this one to introduce tobacco cessation education into all four years of the curriculum of the medical college of the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Java. The authors discuss Project Quit Tobacco Indonesia, in a country that readers are told has undertaken few efforts to control tobacco use and where 80% of physicians smoke. After first engaging administrators, faculty and students, the authors developed modules that addressed tobacco's effects on various body systems (cardiovascular, endocrine, etc.), tobacco control issues within Indonesia and worldwide, and basic approaches to cessation counseling. Students were exposed to the 5 A's of tobacco interventions—Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist and Arrange—through videos and case scenarios, but in the context of their school they will not be able to practice these skills until internship.

De Silva and colleagues present the “Suicide Awareness and Intervention Program” for medical, paramedical and pharmacy students at the University of Tasmania in Australia. This program's lectures, videos, exercises, role plays and discussions aim to build knowledge and response skills in personnel most likely to first encounter persons in the community at-risk for suicide.

In another paper that describes a program to better prepare future practitioners for the realities of community practice, Eilat-Tsanani and colleagues present a new internal medicine curriculum for first year medical students at the Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee. Students observe community tutors with patients within public urban clinics, and they practice their interviewing and examining skills. Evaluation data showed that the community context allowed these early students to encounter people with a broad range of medical conditions, learn more about the illness experience for patients, and learn about the physician-patient partnership.

Forman and colleagues from the United Kingdom and Australia test the usefulness of the scenario planning method to help clinician leaders overcome entrenched, discipline-centric attitudes that can stymie the development of interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional practice (IPP). The authors piloted an adaptation of the intuitive logics approach to scenario planning: Information was first gathered on forces that might influence the future of IPE and IPP; these forces were discussed and possible future scenarios drafted by stakeholders from diverse professions and organizations attending a workshop; then scenarios were further refined after the workshop. Participants found the scenario planning method was a useful heuristic by helping the group focus on potential futures and on the driving forces and barriers, to allow the group to overcome entrenched views to be able to envision ways to successfully implement IPE and IPP.

AlMahmoud and colleagues of the United Emirates University address the important challenge of crafting and vetting strong multiple choice questions to accurately and fairly assess health professions students at the appropriate cognitive level. They describe the steps of a test item enhancement program at their university. These include the steps of gathering items from departments and carrying out an initial assessment of them; reviewing the items more closely by a committee of content and assessment experts; selecting final items; standard setting to establish an appropriate score to constitute a passing mark; and educating students about the school's assessment processes. Their approach is a solid blueprint for other schools.

Pagnin and de Queiroz in Brazil compare the psychological and physical health and social well-being of medical students with other young adults in the south of Brazil. As seen in other parts of the world, these medical students showed lower psychological well-being and poorer social relationships, which the authors point out can affect their performance as students and their future ability to empathize and succeed with patients.

Mascarenas and colleagues from Australia, Kenya and the US assess the impact of a community health worker (CHW) home visitation program to improve the health of newborns in rural Kenya. A training model developed by the WHO and UNICEF was used to prepare twenty CHWs to teach mothers healthy infant feeding practices, recognize signs of neonatal illness and make referrals for care. Infants who were visited by CHWs were less likely than control-group infants to visit a healthcare facility for an illness (21% vs. 35%) and less likely to be hospitalized overnight (1% vs. 6%). Although it is beyond the scope assessed in their study, the authors point out that the program may help reduce Kenya's high neonatal mortality rate.

There are four informative Letters to the Editor in this issue. Ghosh and Chakrabotry in West Bengal, India speak to how they addressed the problem of low student attendance at lectures at their medical school, as now happens for medical schools worldwide. They acknowledge that students spend their time instead with self-directed, principally online educational tools that they find more effective, and the school's response has thus been to use lectures to augment material students are learning on their own, and vice versa. Kar and Prakash in Lucknow and New Delhi question whether given India's immense shortage of psychiatrists—only 2 psychiatrists per 10 million people nationwide!—the profession's movement to fragment the field through subspecialization into geriatric psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and de-addiction psychiatry truly serves the country's need for basic mental health services. Wiwanitkit and Kaewla in Thailand address the worldwide movement, with WHO prompting, to standardize the curriculum and practice of naturopathy. They discuss the usefulness of a public hearing held at the Surin Rajabhat University to begin a broad discussion on setting a naturopathy curriculum for Thailand. And lastly, Newadkar in Dhule, India suggests that the stress and injuries to dentists from their work's awkward and sustained positions would be helped by the body postures, breathing exercises and mindfulness taught in Yoga.

This issue's value is recognized through the breadth of its topics and the insights of its authors, who are innovative educators and engaged clinicians from around the world.