Academic medicine: who is it for?

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7487.361-b (Published 10 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:361

Learning package on effective teaching developed by WHO and JHPIEGO Corporation

  1. Rebecca J Bailey, technical officer (baileyr{at}who.int),
  2. Rick Sullivan, former director of learning and performance support
  1. World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
  2. JHPIEGO Corporation, 1615 Thames Street, Baltimore, MD 21231-3492, USA

    EDITOR—One of Abbasi's four pillars of global academic medicine is teaching.1 Learners need an appropriate environment and various learning activities that include opportunities to practise and receive feedback on their performance. Education is more effective when expected outcomes build on existing knowledge, skills, and attitudes, are relevant to the future tasks of healthcare providers, correspond to the health needs of a society, and are supported by policies and practices in governments and at healthcare facilities. Because the needs of healthcare consumers are diverse, education should focus on preparing healthcare providers who can function in several roles, including the key roles of clinician, communicator, educator, counsellor, administrator, and manager.

    Health systems evolve and adapt to the current and anticipated health needs of individuals and societies, and to continuing advances in knowledge and technology, so healthcare providers who enter the profession this year may not be those who are needed next year. Undergraduate education, therefore, has the dual task of preparing healthcare providers to enter professional practice and continue learning and improving their practice throughout their professional careers. Educators need to define carefully a feasible set of core or essential competencies that graduates must achieve in an academic programme.

    Designing educational programmes for healthcare providers entails several challenges. Common challenges for all institutions are many students, limited opportunities for relevant practical experiences, and a growing amount of information that needs to be covered. The World Health Organization's Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development and JHPIEGO Corporation, a non-profit affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, have recently developed a learning package on effective teaching that recognises these common challenges and proposes practical approaches that educators who plan and conduct courses can use to improve the effectiveness of their teaching.


    • Competing interests None declared.


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