2 September 2015

On September 2nd, SHE and the Wilson Centre (University of Toronto) co-organized an international symposium in Maastricht on globalization and its impact on health professions education.

We look back on a successful day of sharing experiences and exchanging ideas. The impressive diversity of the speakers and the audience accounted for rich, nuanced and humbling insights gained from this day.

Being the fourth annual international symposium organized by the Wilson Centre Globalization Research Group, this year’s symposium hosted by SHE demonstrated the increasing need and interest to reflect on issues of globalization in our field. In different ways, globalization touches us all. We collaborate with foreign partners to develop curricula, to build capacity or to do research; we teach international students; we travel abroad as consultants or lecturers; and we serve patients from diverse national and ethnic backgrounds. Health care and health professions education have gone global, which represents exciting new territory, but also raises many questions - about objectives, motives, strategies, best practices, assumptions, bias, ethics, cultures, values and accountability.

With over a hundred participants from six continents that attended the day, such questions were raised and discussed. The invited speakers and panelists – coming from the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia, Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Sweden - represented diverse perspectives and institutions, such as medical schools, health institutes, research centers, UNESCO and the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). They presented and reflected on challenges, benefits, best practices and unintended consequences of international collaborations in health professions education, and on the competencies that our graduates need to master for practice in a globalized world. Informal discussions during lunch and closing drinks made sure connections were made.

SHE thanks the Wilson Centre for the opportunity to host the 2015 symposium, and SHE thanks the speakers and audience for making this day succesful!