Today we are featuring guest contributor Dr. James D. Smith. Dr. Smith's medical career was as an Otolaryngologist in an Academic setting. Over the past 16 years he has been a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore.
For the past 12 years he has been involved with Medical Education International (MEI) and does three to five short-term mission trips a year which focus on Teaching and Training. He is also on the board of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons. His time in Singapore has given him an interest and many contacts in SE Asia and China, but he also lived in Kenya for two years and has a special interest in Africa.
We hope you enjoy Dr. Smith's insights on healthcare education related to mission hospitals and universities!
In the majority of low/middle income countries there is an overwhelming need for increasing the number of healthcare workers to provide basic health care for the population. Christian mission hospitals, universities and mission sending organizations are recognizing the opportunity to provide healthcare education for a local healthcare workforce which has a Christian worldview and can show the love of Christ as healthcare workers with caring and compassion. Opportunities to provide these educational opportunities include starting new Christian nursing or medical schools which may be associated with mission hospitals. For mission hospitals a natural extension to increase healthcare worker capacity is to provide postgraduate education (residency) programs for Christian national physicians who may not have an opportunity to participate in such training. Doing this training in mission hospitals is an opportunity to mentor residents by providing excellent clinical teaching, help them develop a Christian worldview and show how to share the love of Christ not only in words, but also in deeds. Another benefit of doing this training in a mission hospital or Christian university is that those being trained are much more likely to stay in their own country and even work in a rural setting.
For a program to be successful it is important to do an analysis of the needs of the community and the resources needed to provide an excellent educational program. The resources that need to be considered are finances for starting the program and costs of maintaining the program. Faculty for any training program should be adequate in numbers and experience. It may require expatriate expertise to start a program, but there should be plans to train national physicians to teach and administer the program. Decisions will need to be made as to who and how you will recruit students or residents to the program.