After the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare educators are rethinking how to prepare future generations to best serve their patients, and they shared insights at the opening of the International Conference on the Future of health education held at the Coral Gables campus.
While more and more doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are graduating from more medical schools around the world today, there is still a significant gap between this hand and what is needed to meet growing global patient demand.
This problem has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Julio Frenk, president of the University of Miami and global public health expert, at the opening of the International Conference on the Future of Health Education, held at the Coral Gables campus.
“When you look at the numbers, even with an increase in the number of doctors and nurses, the shortage is abysmal,” Frenk said, adding that most medical professionals migrate to high-income countries, which means that low- and middle-income countries are struggling. most. “It will take all the resources to educate the health personnel that we need in all countries. And we need to leverage technology to fill those gaps.
Frenk, as well as Dr. Latha Chandran, Executive Dean and Founding President of the Miller School of Medicine‘s Department of Medical Education, and Dr. Lincoln C. Chen, Chairman Emeritus of the China Medical Board, were three of the main authors of an article recently published in The Lancet on the changes needed to support health education in the wake of the pandemic and beyond.
Along with several other authors, they have highlighted the need for a competency-based and capability-based healthcare curriculum, as well as programs that give students the chance to work with a range of healthcare professionals and d learn key skills in collaboration, so that they will be prepared for the workplace. They also highlighted the strengths of a blended curriculum that incorporates online and in-person classes when they have the most impact.
“We have a duty to build a better normal,” Frenk said. “It’s the least we can do for the 20 million people who have lost their lives in the COVID-19 pandemic, those who have lost family members or for children who have been orphaned by the pandemic.”
Throughout the conference, health experts from across the United States and around the world gathered to participate in panel discussions led by Felicia Knaul, professor of public health at the Miller School and director of the University’s Institute for Advanced Studies of the Americasand Dr. Barry Issenberg, who directs the Gordon Center for Simulation and Medical Innovation. They also attended presentations led by Dr. Henri Ford, Dean of the Miller School, Cindy Munro, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Scienceson the future of health education and new avenues for teaching health care.
In particular, Ford described the NextGenMD program adopted by the Miller School in 2020, which focuses on a competency-based educational model. This includes integrating patient care earlier and encouraging students to follow a chosen path of scholarship so that they can couple their clinical experience with laboratory research during medical school.
Munro described how the School of Nursing and Health Studies uses its Simulation Hospital Advancing Research and Education to help students gain experience treating patients in a range of medical settings, such as an emergency room, a typical hospital room, a one-bedroom apartment, and even an ambulance bay.
Frenk said he hopes the conference will be an opportunity for health educators to reflect on how they can attract new talent to healthcare and retain them at a time when the stress of the pandemic has led many people to leave the field. Specifically, he cited some of the recommendations from The Lancet publication, which also recommended teaching certain “adaptive skills” to healthcare professionals, such as the importance of work-life balance, so that these people can blossom.
Chandran said she was thrilled with the first two days of the conference and has already learned many new ideas that she hopes to share with Miller School faculty.
“We have global health leaders from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America all coming together to reflect on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to maintain and grow health education programs with major principles such as equity and justice. , so that health care is accessible to all,” she said. “It was an incredible experience.”