The 8th International Medical Education Conference (IMEC) was successfully held from 13-15 March at the International Medical University (IMU) Bukit Jalil, KL, Malaysia. The IMEC is an annual conference organised by IMU in order to bring together leaders and emerging leaders involved in health professions education for the purpose of exchanging ideas, exploring avenues for collaborating research and to establish links. It is a forum for forging and renewing friendships between educators of healthcare professions from the region and beyond; a platform to exchange ideas and experience, showcase innovations. It is usually held in March every year for two days, preceded by Pre-Conference workshop the day before. A designated theme is identified for each of the IMEC conferences and theme for this year’s conference was, ‘Celebrating Teachers in Health Professions Education’, to honour teachers many of whom devote a lifetime towards imparting knowledge without a thought of reward or recognition. There were about 300 delegates at this conference, represented by Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Mongolia, Thailand, Myanmar, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Australia, Laos, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand.
The IMU-Ron Harden Innovation in Medical Education (IMU-RHIME) Award was the highlight of the event. This award was founded in 2008, and winners have included innovators from Malaysia, Hong Kong and London. This year, awards for Best Oral and Best Poster were introduced. 16 innovators participated and four were shortlisted. Muhamad Saiful Bahri Yusoff, Mohd Jamil Yaacob, Syed Hatim Noor and Abd Rahman Esa from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, received this year’s IMU-RHIME Award. An encouraging development was the enthusiastic participation of students. Many of the members of IMU’s Academic Council and its Professional Education Advisory Committee (PEAC) were also on hand to exchange views and share their experience. Here is what Dairshini Sithambaram, a Medicine student who presented a paper entitled ‘IMU Student Ambassadors: The faces of IMU, but what do they see?’ had to say about her IMEC experience: “It was a great conference and some of the speakers were truly inspiring. I was particularly impressed by Prof Truddie Roberts, the Dean of Medicine from University of Leeds, United Kingdom who is so successful, nice and intelligent. I was fortunate to have a chat with her during lunch on the first day. I also want to thank Prof Hla sincerely for giving me the opportunity to present a paper at IMEC. Without her encouragement, I may have never done it. The presentation went very well and I am ready to take on bigger projects now. I also love the medical education area and I want to venture into it when I’m older”
IMU, in an effort to achieve its vision to be an innovative global centre of excellence in learning and research, has organised IMEC on an annual basis since 2004. The university is fortunate to be affiliated with Professor Ronald Harden, Director, Centre for Medical Education, University of Dundee Scotland since its inception in 1992, and to be in partnership with 35 prestigious medical schools worldwide. It is through this affiliation, added to its committed Centre for Education (ICE) that the medical education conferences were successful from the very beginning. There were three Medical Education Colloquia in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The name of the conference was changed to “International Medical Education Conference” (IMEC) in 2007, to reflect its international stature. The IMEC was skipped in 2011 and 2012, and was replaced by the Sixth AMEA Congress and 15th Ottawa Conference. These were co-organised by IMU. “The IMEC is always an invigorating event. I particularly like the format of the meeting, the mix of participants and the scale of the meeting. What I also like a lot is the student debates and the ideas about intercative sessions with proponents and opponents. This makes the IMEC different from many other meetings around the world” said Dr Jonas Nordquist, the Director of Karolinska Institutet‘s Medical Case Centre, Sweden who was also the main speaker at the conference.