On 30 August, 2023, Dr Sivakumar Arunachalam and his team at the International Medical University (IMU) received a prestigious award called the ‘Patil Teaching Innovation Award 2023.’ This award was given at a special event during the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) conference in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
The Patil Teaching Innovation Award is a significant honor presented by AMEE, an international group focused on improving medical and healthcare education. It recognises exceptional contributions in teaching and encourages educators to find better ways to train future healthcare professionals.
Dr Siva, upon receiving the award, expressed his gratitude to IMU senior management and steering committee, and credited the entire dental faculty for their hard work and enthusiasm.
Dr Siva said, “I want to share this achievement with our entire faculty. They’ve all contributed in many ways during the development and are now actively supporting the implementation. I’d like to thank Profs Allan and Vishna for trusting me and giving me this responsibility. A special shout-out to Prof Seow for supporting our efforts and helping us face challenges with confidence and calmness.”
In the field of dental education and practice, a mix of art and science is involved. Students need to develop their skills systematically by working with real patients. When dental students graduate, they are allowed to practice independently, so it’s important to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. To help with this, a new teaching concept called “Entrustable Professional Activities” (EPAs) has been introduced at the School of Dentistry. This system helps students develop the skills they need for dental practice and provides a structured way to assess their progress.
How Does EPAs Benefit the Dental Students?
Dr Siva said, “EPAs are like a step-by-step guide for students, helping them learn the practical workplace-based skills they need for their future jobs. This way, they can safely care for patients, meet professional standards, and graduate with the right abilities for their careers. This approach works well in any field where hands-on skills are crucial for success.” He noted further that the students receive targeted feedback and support based on their performance in specific EPAs. This personalised approach to learning can help students address their weaknesses and build on their strengths.
EPAs are closely tied to the tasks and responsibilities that healthcare professionals will encounter in their practice. As a result, students are better prepared for their roles upon graduation. As students achieve milestones by completing EPAs, they gain a sense of accomplishment and motivation, which can be particularly valuable in demanding educational programmes like dentistry or medicine. Further, the EPA-based education system is dynamic and encourages continuous improvement.
The Patil Teaching Innovation Award from AMEE celebrates creativity and innovation in medical and healthcare education. It highlights the exceptional work of educators who are shaping the future of healthcare professionals through new and effective teaching methods.
Dr Siva and his team are absolutely thrilled and overjoyed to receive this award. This award is a testament to the countless hours of dedication and passion they’ve poured into their work. Dr Siva hopes that this award inspires others to pursue their passion in education and innovation.