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WHO Collaborating Centre for Educational Development

Adopting or making innovation in the field of health professions education has been a passion for the College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University. Two innovations that the college adopted as priorities are Evidence-based Medicine, and Best Evidence Medical Education and Research Health Professions Education. Evidence-based Medicine since the introduction of the term in 1991 has promised a new paradigm of practice and teaching of medicine. It has stressed the examination of research-based clinical evidence and integration with clinical expertise and patient's values in health care decision-making. It has acquired a prominent place in the ongoing efforts to improve the quality of health care and medical education. Information technology and international organizations like Cochrane Collaboration have provided a thrust to its propagation. Global as well as national organizations all over the world have included incorporation of EBM as one of the standards in undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education. The goal is to enhance understanding and use of evidence in clinical practice, and awareness of strengths and limitations of the evidence.

Evidence has probably influenced health care and education since the beginning of medicine as science but the current wave of renewed interest and efforts places emphasis on a systematic, pervasive and rigorous approach to use of evidence in clinical decision making. It is already clear that the dream of evidence-based healthcare can become a reality only if medical education embraces this approach and is guided by it. Principles of asking, accessing, appraising and applying research-based evidence in clinical decision-making need to be introduced in undergraduate as well as postgraduate medical education. Only then ‘Tomorrow’s doctors’ will be an active life-long learner as well as providers of evidence-based health care.

The College of Medicine & Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University has recognized the relationship between Health Professions Education and Evidence-based Health Care and has been a pioneer in the region in both the fields. Recognizing the need for more research and to provide further impetus to the efforts in the two areas, the university established a centre which serves the training and educational needs in the area of Evidence-based Healthcare and Medical Education.

Mission

WHO Collaborative Centre for Educational Development is dedicated to the promotion of evidence-based approaches in healthcare as well as medical education in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. It aims to achieve this through education, research and provision of technical support services, and human resources for training of health professionalism making education and evidence-based medicine.

Vision

The Centre envisions becoming a world class learning resource and research nucleus in the area of Evidence-based Healthcare and Medical Education for all the countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

Objectives

  1. To provide training and courses in the area of Best Evidence Medical Education and Evidence-Based Medicine.
  2. To provide training in conducting systematic reviews/meta-analyses in the field of healthcare and medical education.
  3. To facilitate formulation and implementation of evidence-based practice clinical guidelines in the Gulf region.
  4. To facilitate improvement in the quality of healthcare and health professions education through promotion of evidence-based approaches.
  5. To serve as a centre for human and technical resources for promotion of evidence–based healthcare and medical education.

The WHO educational development centre has two divisions: Health Professions Education and Evidence-based Medicine.

The objective of the health professions education division is to develop educational leadership skills among teachers and educational managers in the health professions. The division offers a Diploma/Masters degree in health professions education. The core faculty in the division cooperates with visiting international faculty from Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA), the Netherlands and Hong Kong. Participants come mainly from Bahrain but also from other GCC countries. The themes for health professions education are: learning styles, self-directed learning; curriculum mapping; professional skills (communication skills, patient education); evaluation (course, performance, tutoring); assessment (tutor versus peer, integrated, portfolio); training needs (nurses, physiotherapists, dental hygienists); problem-based and case-based learning; and mentoring. The division also offers a health training workshop for staff development coordinators. This course has been based on a needs analysis for the area, a delineation of a strategic plan of activities, followed by the organization and implementation of this educational activity. The course consists of:

  • Organizing and implementing continuing professional education activities;
  • Developing instructional materials;
  • Setting up monitoring systems and evaluating the impact and effectiveness of continuing education activities;
  • Compiling data and preparing an annual report of all continuing professional education activities.

The centre also offers a certification course for participants from member countries of the GCC. In addition, the division conducts regional faculty development workshops on problem-based learning.

The second division of the centre organized regular workshops on evidence-based medicine in most GCC member countries. The University contributes to the international initiative on best evidence medical education. This division conducted several international workshops in Bahrain, Brazil, France, Canada, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Sultanate of Oman and Egypt. In addition, it is active in research and works with the Cochrane collaboration.

The University also participates in several regional initiatives such as the GCC Medical College Deans’ Committee which provides a framework for regional standards for medical education and training and initiates and supports the provision of quality medical education in GCC member countries using international quality assurance programmes. Several projects have been initiated and implemented by the GCC Medical College Deans’ Committee. The educational development centre is also active in other international collaborative activities such as the World Federation of Medical Education and the Hong Kong Consortium.

The terms of reference of the centre are to:

  • provide training in health professions education which includes, but is not limited to, effective teaching and training, curriculum design, student assessment, programme evaluation, quality assessment and standards in health professions education;
  • train teachers on how to practice evidence-based education and develop critical appraisal skills;
  • encourage cooperation between different health professions education groups in the Region in developing and using the best available evidence for accrediting bodies, educational institutions, government and professional training organizations;
  • identify and direct educational research and systematic reviews to assess where evidence is lacking or weak;
  • improve and develop databases of educational research, user-friendly search and retrieval mechanisms.

Director

Khaldoon Al-Roomi MD, MSc, PhD, FRSH
Associate Professor of Family & Community Medicine
College of Medicine & Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Kingdom of Bahrain.

Co-Director

Kameshwar Prasad, MBBS (Hons), MD, DM, MM & FRCP (Edin)
Professor of Neurology and Clinical Epidemiology,
College of Medicine & Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University

Communication and correspondence
WHO Collaborating Centre for Educational Development
College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University,
P. O. Box 22979, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Tel: (+) 973 17239522; Fax: (+)973 17230730; email: ebm@agu.edu.bh

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