Med Ed Goes Global

HMS transforming medical pedagogy, curriculum and technology

Attendees to the 2019 IMPACT symposium in front of Gordon Hall

Attendees came from 44 medical schools in 26 countries.

The expansion of medical knowledge, together with advancements in biomedical research, are presenting extraordinary opportunities to train future health care leaders to deliver increasingly complex levels of patient care. At the same time, student preparation for medical school is becoming more and more varied as technology presents new promises and challenges.  

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These were a few of the themes discussed this month at the inaugural IMPACT Symposium. For this first-of-its-kind exploration of trends, developments and current best practices in medical education, Harvard Medical School’s Office for External Education convened 90 senior institutional leaders from 44 medical schools in 26 countries. 

“Bringing people together to find solutions to our shared challenges is one of the most important roles of medical schools and academic medical centers,” said George Q. Daley, dean of HMS, in his opening remarks at the symposium.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this unprecedented opportunity to build a community of like-minded deans and health care leaders who are working to improve medical education around the world,” Daley added. 

“As medical school leaders, we are all in the same place with regard to our priorities, and we all want the same thing for our students and their patients,” said María Guadalupe Zavala-Cerna, academic coordinator for the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in Mexico. 

“By reaching outside of its own institution, Harvard is offering what they have developed so that other schools around the world can benefit,” Zavala-Cerna said.

Medical educators who attended the symposium worked through real-world examples and challenges, such as how to develop a framework for educators to successfully lead flipped classroom sessions, led by Richard Schwartzstein, HMS director of educational scholarship, and how to lead faculty through major curriculum overhauls, led by Edward M. Hundert, dean for medical education, Barbara A. Cockrill, director of faculty development in the MD program and Ted A. James, HMS associate professor of surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“The forces of change in our field present both real challenges and outstanding opportunities for medical schools across the world,” said David Roberts, HMS dean for external education. “We look forward to continued engagement with institutions that share common goals and values.”

During the symposium, attendees had the opportunity to explore various HMS and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health educational offerings, including:

“We’re going through a major curriculum revision, and to see that Harvard has done it successfully has been reassuring and encouraging,” said Stephen Trumble, head of the Department of Medical Education at the University of Melbourne in Australia. 

“It was an incredible experience to be hosted by Harvard and to come together with such an eclectic mix of educators from around the world in a context where we could share our successes and challenges,” Trumble said.

By building upon the connections established at the IMPACT Symposium, HMS is poised to extend its reach and catalyze innovation in medical education on a global scale.

See the full agenda for the 2019 IMPACT Symposium