The Alliance at the World Health Summit in Berlin

World Health Summit 2012

The Global Health Workforce Alliance (the Alliance) collaborated with Monash University to organize a session entitled “Transformative Health Professionals Education for the 21st century”. The event was held at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany. The Summit is one of the foremost international high-level fora in healthcare, bringing together governments, academia, private sector, civil society to jointly develop strategies and take action to address key challenges in medical research, global health and health care delivery.

Opening the session was Dr Giorgio Cometto, from the Alliance Secretariat, who introduced the audience to the primary global challenges in the field of health professional education. Dr Jo Boufford of the Institute of Allied Medical Professions provided a concise overview of the findings and recommendations of the Lancet Commission report. Finally, Dr Erica Wheeler from the World Health Organization (WHO) explained the WHO guidelines on transformative education.

What followed was a lively panel discussion, where Prof David Kendrick of the University of Oklahoma shared his views on possible future strategies to address the shortages of skilled health workers affecting the United States. Prof Benedict Canny of Monash University, instead, focused on the need for more integrated training across different cadres to allow greater inter-professional practice and role substitution. Dr Shah Yasin of Monash University discussed the key challenges that health systems in low- and middle-income countries are facing, and how medical education should adapt to the realities of resource constrained settings. Lastly, Mr Michael Hale, a British medical student, offered his perspective on the most important elements surrounding the current debate on the future of health care.

The session, attended by 80 some people, was well received, and both panelists and members of the audience expressed their appreciation. Through this session, it was possible to inform the audience about the different health education initiatives, triangulate them with field experiences, and build wider momentum and ownership behind the agenda of health workforce education, as part of a broader health system strengthening.