246382 Medical Education and Medical Migrations: Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:30 PM

Anna Gotlib, JD, PhD , Department of Philosophy, Binghamton University (SUNY), Binghamton, NY
The continuing shortage of health care personnel remains one of the most challenging, and vexing, public health dilemmas facing developed countries. One way of addressing it -- the ongoing migration of health personnel from the Global South to the Global North -- brings with it a number of serious moral worries about the relationships of responsibility between the donor developing nations and the beneficiary developed ones. Given the resulting personnel shortages in the developing world, an especially important question is one of moral obligations to distant others: what is owed, by whom, and to whom, or more precisely, how might we, the Western beneficiaries of these migrations, address the difficult balance between the social obligations we have to our own citizens, as well as to those who come to care for us, and those they leave behind. Although a number of solutions have been offered, in this paper, I argue that we have to begin by examining our own medical education system as a possible source of, and a solution to, these domestic shortages and resulting international inequities. I suggest that, at least within the United States, the relationship between the shortage of domestic health care personnel and the resulting medical migrations is partially grounded in the ongoing crisis in medical education. I argue that some of the moral dilemmas about our duties to proximate and distant stakeholder communities might begin to be addressed by an examination of our own medical education practices, assumptions, and priorities.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to 1) Describe the major ethical concerns raised by health care worker education and migration from the Global South: and 2) Identify the theoretical and practical difficulties in accurately locating our moral obligations to ourselves and distant others as expressed through our own medical educational policies; and 3) Apply novel approaches to understanding how to assess the dilemmas of health care worker shortages and migrations from the Global South by examining the medical educational responsibilities of the Global North.

Keywords: Health Care Workers, Health Workers Training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been teaching, researching, and writing in the area of medical ethics (including issues of medical education) for a number of years. I am currently an Assistant Professor of philosophy at Binghamton University (SUNY).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.