Global University Medical Challenge (GUMC) was introduced in the13th International Medical Education Conference (IMEC) held at the International Medical University in 2018. It is an opportunity to bring together students from around the world to engage in global health and test their knowledge against other medical students. This year, it was held at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka in conjunction with the Colombo Medical Congress, on 14 and 15 February 2020. This year’s challenge saw our team from the School of Medicine, International Medical University (IMU) consisting of Evon Chai Huey San (Semester 7), Darwitha A/P Sivanendran (Semester 7) and Carmen Ching Hui Yee (Semester 5) winning the 3rd position and awarded a cash prize of US$ 1,000. The University of Colombo, also the event host was the champion, with University of Peradeniya was the 1st runner-up. 10 university teams from different countries participated in this challenge. It was based on a vast area of knowledge including both pre-clinical and clinical subjects such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, general medicine, cardiology, general surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics and psychiatry.
The 1st round was presented in a USMLE format covering both Steps 1 and 2 which required extensive preparation as the questions were mostly based on application and critical thinking. Eight best teams qualified for the 2nd round, consisting of USMLE questions and spot diagnoses, followed by a tight and competitive final round between the four best teams. It required a great deal of preparation and team-effort to reach this level of the competition. The IMU team was trained under the guidance of A/P Dr Nilesh Kumar Mitra from the Human Biology Division, School of Medicine, IMU. Personally, I am proud with the way our team worked despite consisting of only two Year 4 and a Year 3 student. Knowing that the other competitors might have an edge over us, whom majority of them consisted of Year 5 students, we identified our gaps and sought help from other lecturers, especially Dr Tun Yee (Obstetrics and Gynaecology). On the other hand, Dr Nilesh provided us with sufficient materials for preparation and would constantly check on our progress. On top of that, our team spent some weekends with Dr Nilesh to conduct mock quizzes in IMU Bukit Jalil. This enabled us to develop good teamwork and understanding, resulting in an ideal team dynamic. We supported each other and made sure we distributed the workload equally.
Last but not least, I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to the IMU for funding the team and providing all the assistance needed. Without the help from IMU, our dream to hoist IMU’s name on an international platform would never have manifested. Despite minor shortcomings, this was a new form of learning experience that has matured my thinking and medical knowledge.
Written by Evon Chai Huey San, IMU Medical Student