Letter
Open Access

Medical Education in Iran: How amazingly AMEE live Conference 2018 engaged more Iranian Medical Educationists

AliAkbar Haghdoost[1], Shoaleh Bigdeli[2], Saeed Asgary[3]

Institution: 1. Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran, 2. Center for Educational Research in Medical Sciences (CERMS), Department of Medical Education, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, 3. National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Corresponding Author: Prof Shoaleh Bigdeli ([email protected])
Categories: Educational Strategies
Published Date: 21/05/2020
Keywords: AMEE Live; Medical Education; Virtual Participation

Letter

Dear Editor,

This position paper is an attempt to share the experience of AMEE live attendance in Iran. The high number of virtual participants is an incentive for medical educators throughout the country and will act as a model for other countries who have difficulty attending the AMEE annual conferences.

AMEE is known as the most prestigious source of medical education expertise, and its annual conference is a hub for networking, sharing information, knowledge and productive dialogue to enhance excellence in medical education (AMEE, 2019) and to foster communication among the field experts internationally (Wojtczak, 2009).

Country in Context

Iran with relatively advanced medical education and a high number of qualified medical educationists regionally, has been a part of this global event; in this regard, AMEE statistics indicate that during 2011-2018, 122 Iranian medical educationists attended the AMEE conferences personally (AMEE, 2011-2018).

In 2018, National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education (NASR), as an AMEE institutional premium member with collaboration of Education Development Center (EDC) of Iran Ministry of Health and Medical Education created a unique international opportunity for medical educationists of the 10 national sub-regions of the country to be engaged and exposed to up-to-date topics presented at AMEE live.

AMEE Conference-2018

In the same year, more than 3000 participants from 90 countries attended the AMEE annual conference in-person (Ali, 2019), 14 of which were Iranians. However, at the same time, with the provided opportunity by NASR and EDC, 510 Iranian medical educationists participated in the AMEE live conference virtually, which is not only one-sixth of all AMEE participants in 2018, but also four times more than all Iranian participants during 2011-2018 (NASR Report, 2018). This successful experience with minimum cost, is an apt substitute for AMEE personal presence that is unaffordable to many, particularly now a days because of the US sanctions against Iran. 

This experience might be suggested to other countries who want to increase their participation in this event. And AMEE can consider it as a policy to be spread among its institutional members and increase the number of the live conference virtual participants. In addition, providing more space for interactions among the virtual participants via forums, discussion boards, specific interest groups (SIGs), etc. and increasing the availability of virtual events in the cyberspace, will facilitate communications, reinforce sharing of knowledge and expertise and increase the efficacy of the AMEE live conference participation.

Take Home Messages

  • Virtual attendance at AMEE conferences might be suggested to the countries who want to increase their participation in this event.
  • Increasing the availability of AMEE events in the cyberspace, will increase the efficacy of the AMEE live conference participation.
  • The AMEE conference virtual attendance might increase enthusiasm of the virtual participants to take part in the future AMEE conferences personally.
  • This model will be useful for other countries to increase the number of their participants in this prestigious event virtually; however, personal presence of the participants is encouraged.

Notes On Contributors

ALIAKBAR HAGHDOOST, MD, is professor of epidemiology at Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran, and Head of Institute for Futures Studies in Health, and Director of the National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education (NASR).

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4628-4849

 

SHOALEH BIGDELI (AFAMEE), PhD is associate professor of Medical Education at Iran University of Medical Sciences. She is vice-director for research in Center for Educational Research in Medical Sciences (CERMS), Department of Medical Education, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, and international affairs adviser to the director at the National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education (NASR). Additional email contact: [email protected]

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9672-2726

SAEED ASGARY, D.D.S, M.S, is professor of Endodontics, Iranian Center for Endodontic Research, Research Institute of Dental Research, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences,Tehran, Iran, and senior adviser to the director at the National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education (NASR).

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6691-0478

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the colleagues of National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education (NASR) and Education Development Center (EDC) of Iran Ministry of Health and Medical Education whose collaboration made the event happen.

The authors confirm that they are not employed by AMEE, that they have not been paid or received any other form of recompense from AMEE and the views expressed in the article are the authors' own.

Bibliography/References

Ali, F. (2019) AMEE report on number of Iranian delegates: Interpersonal Communication via email, June 17, 2019.

AMEE. (2011) AMEE Conference Abstract Book [Online] Available from https://amee.org/getattachment/Conferences/AMEE-Past-Conferences/AMEE-Conference-2011/AMEE-2011-ABSTRACT-BOOK-(2).pdf (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

AMEE. (2012) AMEE Conference Abstract Book [Online] Available from https://amee.org/getattachment/Conferences/AMEE-Past-Conferences/AMEE-Conference-2012/AMEE-2012-ABSTRACT-BOOK.pdf (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

AMEE. (2013) AMEE Conference Abstract Book [Online] Available from https://amee.org/getattachment/Conferences/AMEE-Past-Conferences/AMEE-Conference-2013/AMEE-2013-ABSTRACT-BOOK-updated-190813.pdf (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

AMEE. (2014) AMEE Conference Abstract Book [Online] Available from https://amee.org/getattachment/0aff9cf1-cb37-4b3f-aa55-c8de45adc7f6/AMEE-2014-Abstract-Book.pdf (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

AMEE. (2015) AMEE Conference Abstract Book [Online] Available from https://amee.org/getattachment/Conferences/AMEE-Past-Conferences/AMEE-2015/Final-Abstract-Book-updated-post-conference.pdf (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

AMEE. (2016) AMEE Conference Abstract Book [Online] Available from https://amee.org/getattachment/Conferences/AMEE-Past-Conferences/AMEE-2016/1-AMEE-2016-Abstract-Book-FULL-BOOK-UPDATED-Online-POST-CONFERENCE.pdf (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

AMEE. (2017) AMEE Conference Abstract Book [Online] Available from https://amee.org/getattachment/Conferences/AMEE-Past-Conferences/AMEE-2017/AMEE-2017-Abstract-Book.pdf (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

AMEE. (2018) AMEE Conference Abstract Book [Online] Available from https://amee.org/getattachment/Conferences/AMEE-2018/Abstracts/AMEE-2018-Abstract-Book.pdf (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

AMEE. (2019) AMEE Website [Online] Available from www.amee.org (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

National Agency for Strategic Research in Medical Education (NASR), (2018) Report on Iranians participation in AMEE Live Annual Conference 2018, NASR Internal Report.

Wojtczak, A. AMEE Occasional Paper 5: History of AMEE 1972-2009, Dundee: AMEE, Available from https://amee.org/getattachment/Publications/History_AMEE_CD_AUG2013.pdf (Accessed: 20 June 2019).

Appendices

None.

Declarations

There are no conflicts of interest.
This has been published under Creative Commons "CC BY-SA 4.0" (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)

Ethics Statement

Not applicable.

External Funding

This article has not had any External Funding

Reviews

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Ken Masters - (13/10/2020) Panel Member Icon
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This is a brief letter setting out to describe how the AMEE Live Online conference system allowed Iranian medical educationists to engage with the AMEE2018 conference.

While it is good to know that so many (510) Iranian medical educationists were able to participate in AMEE2018 through this method, the letter is disappointing. It sets out to describe how the medical educationists engaged in the conference, but gives only the numbers and says it was successful. Further than that, unfortunately, no information about how they were engaged has been given. (Almost all the other information is contextual).

Perhaps the authors would consider writing a Version 2 of this letter in which they give the details that are indicated in their title, so that readers can have some insight into how the medical educationists engaged with the conference, and what the impact was that leads the authors to the conclusion that it was a success. That would certainly be interesting and useful reading.


Possible Conflict of Interest:

For transparency, I am an Associate Editor of MedEdPublish.

Trevor Gibbs - (30/05/2020) Panel Member Icon
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Thank you for asking me to review this letter from our colleagues in Iran. MedEdPublish doesn't normally review letters but because of this specific request I was happy to do this.
We always need to recognise that the world of Medical Education is not a level playing field and there are many parts of this world that do not have the same access to the learning resources that others have. The Covid-19 pandemic, I feel, will make this education gap even bigger. It is the duty of all educational associations to help compensate for that and I am pleased to hear how AMEE was able to help bridge the gap.
I enjoyed the spirit of the letter and the authors' hope that their activity is mirrored by others in a similar situation.
I would also look towards these authors transforming their thoughts into a paper that describes more fully what resulted in terms of their teaching, learning and assessment activities, as a result of their AMEE contact. Thank you
Possible Conflict of Interest:

For transparency , I am the President of AMEE and one of the Associate Editors of MedEdPublish. This review is a personal reflection