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Media Release

NOSM with Flinders University Hold Fourth Medical Education Conference Exploring Community-Engaged Medical Education

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) hosted Muster 2014, a conference on socially accountable, community-engaged medical education. Co-hosted with Flinders University School of Medicine, Muster 2014 brought delegates together in Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia (known commonly as Ayers Rock) to share, learn, develop, and explore best practices in medical education and research.

Muster 2014 was the fourth medical education conference hosted by the two schools of medicine, who share a commitment to educating health professionals to address underserved areas. Muster 2014 was preceded by two conferences in Northern Ontario, Canada (ICEMEN 2008 and Rendez-Vous 2012), and The Muster 2010 in South Australia.

With participation of delegates from every continent of the world (with the exception of the Antarctic), delegates came together to explore issues related to rural, remote, and underserviced health care; social accountability as it relates to health professional education; Longitudinal Learning; Aboriginal health and research; and the engagement of communities in the processes of educating future physicians and health professionals.

Conference highlights:

  • The scientific conference opened with a plenary presentation from the Ngangkaris, Aboriginal healers and traditional owners of the land on which the conference was held. From the Ngangkaris, participants learned about Aboriginal perspectives on health, the extent of the Ngangkaris' healing powers, how the Ngangkaris heal their people, and the valued professional partnerships that they have with modern health professionals.

  • Dr. Rachel Ellaway, NOSM Assistant Dean, Curriculum and Planning gave an engaging plenary session about the intersection between medical schools and communities, and the importance of qualitative and theory-based research in medical education.

  • Dr. Fortunato Cristobal, founding Dean of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University School of Medicine (ADZU-SOM) gave an inspirational keynote address about the formation of the ADZU-SOM. When it was founded in 1993, ADZU-SOM had a budget of $500 with no governmental support. Cristobal shared the exciting progress that the School has made in training high-quality health professionals for the Zamboanga region in the Philippines, which is now a national and international leader in medical education.

  • Delegates had the opportunity to meet with students, faculty, and administration at the National Indigenous Training Academy (NITA), a training academy established by the Indigenous Land Corporation to provide training programs for Indigenous Australians within the country's tourism and hospitality industry. Through direct engagement with Indigenous Trainees, participants learned how NITA is developing sustainable Indigenous employment in remote regions.

  • More than 20 health professional students from around the world attended the conference to learn about the theory behind their education. To close the conference, the students provided guidance and feedback to all delegates about future directions for medical education and research from their perspective.

  • Dr. Erica Wheeler of the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced the WHO's new toolkit: Transforming the Health Workforce in Support of Universal Health Coverage: Global Toolkit for Evaluating Health Workforce Education. The toolkit was offered to the delegates to seek input into the toolkit before it was globally launched.

"Many communities around the world are underserved and experience poorer health outcomes due to lack of health professionals in their regions," says Dr. Paul Worley, Dean of the School of Medicine at Flinders University. These are exactly the reasons why we meet at Muster 2014-to ensure that people around the world have the health care they need, no matter where they live."

"We have made a distinctive mark on medical education over the last eight years, with opportunities to collaborate in previous NOSM/Flinders conferences," says Dr. Roger Strasser, NOSM Dean. "But global, community-engaged medical education is still emerging, and there is still much we can learn from each other. Muster 2014 provided yet another important opportunity to learn from each other and continue to mold global, community-engaged medical education for the better."

About Flinders University
Geographically dispersed across the north-south corridor of Australia, the Flinders University School of Medicine's students, staff, health professionals and community leaders work together to improve the health of society through health professional education, research and clinical practice.

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The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centered, community-engaged education and research. 

Kimberley Larkin
Communications Officer
Phone: 705-662-7243
Email: klarkin@nosm.ca 


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