273548 Evaluating and Ameliorating the Impact of International Medical Electives: A Canadian Perspective

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Neil Arya, MD , Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada
International medical electives (IMEs) have demonstrated positive impacts on students' education and career development, but there are growing concern about the potentially negative impact of students from higher income countries in healthcare settings in low-income countries.

Within Canada, particularly at Western University, students have led development of standardized predeparture training and its evaluation. With the aid of partners from Canada and outside we have conducted a literature review and led a scan of electives offered through 14 Canadian medical schools to document all aspects of these electives and to assess the student and host experience.

Preliminary results indicate much variation in the nature and scope of the placements, the pre-departure training offered, and the extent of program evaluation at the schools. We need to assess both pre-departure preparation and global health courses for effectiveness, and develop standardized procedures to prepare students for international placements. Rigorous evaluation of positive and negative impacts on host communities and medical facilities is also required. We are now developing an evaluation framework and designing a prospective study of the impact of GH education and to better understand the immediate and longer-term impact of IMEs on both students and hosts.

This presentation will also comment on evolving Canadian priorities in global health and medical education, in light of 1. the CANMEDS Competency-based framework for medical education highlighting the Advocacy role of physicians, and 2. the new Social Accountability Agenda of medical schools stressing ethics.

Learning Areas:
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the efforts of Canadian universities to design and conduct a large-scale evaluation of the positive and negative impacts of international electives on trainees, on host communities and on programs.

Keywords: International Health, Global Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Neil Arya is a family physician in Kitchener Ontario and founding Director of the Global Health Office at Western University. He is former Vice-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize and President of Physicians for Global Survival and has written and lectured around the world about Peace through Health. He has extensive experience in this area
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.