From shorts to shayla hijabs, from saris to suits, the gathering of minds at the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) conference in Milan, Italy last week was diverse not only in dress, but in pioneering approaches to the education of future physicians.
When we started our long 22-hour journey from Upstate New York to sunny Milan, we wondered aloud what this conference would really be like. With medical educators from all over the world gathering in one place for four days of non-stop programming, how could any meaningful collaboration really happen? It seemed unfathomable that any common ground could be found with such a diversity of language, culture and curricula.
In our first session on Sunday, we sat in a preconference workshop discussing the best methods of giving feedback to physicians-in-training, a concern that seems to be ubiquitous in medical education worldwide.
As educator after educator introduced themselves, from Thailand to Sweden to Brazil to our own United States, it became clear why a conference like AMEE was founded: an unyielding and passionate dedication to the training of the next generation of the physician profession.
At one table, we engaged in a lively discussion about the role of patient-centered feedback in encouraging medical students to improve their skills. At another table, a particularly rowdy Aussie heatedly argued over the philosophical impossibility of a fair feedback process. Initially, the discussions and perspectives seemed disparate, but by the end of the session, a consensus was made on key areas of focus to improve this small but integral part of a physician’s education.
As we migrated from talk to talk, the discourse revealed then when effort is made to collaborate, true strides can be made in the realm of medical education. We saw that it was possible for educators to join forces to tackle a single, dire problem, like student burnout, and also to divide and conquer the unique problems that each country faced, including violence against physicians in China and GME funding in the US.
AMEE 2014 was the true embodiment of collaboration, with educators and students from every nation and creed coming together and, backed by their years of experience, creating communal educational moments for the advancement of physicians-in-training around the world.
This is why in-Training was at AMEE 2014, miles away from where it was founded just over two years ago in a tiny Atlanta restaurant. As an online community committed to self-reflection, communication and collaboration among medical students, it is vital to bring in-Training to the international stage so that all physicians-in-training have a home to voice their concerns and plans for the future of medicine.
In our conversations with students and educators throughout our three days in Milan, we gained a deeper appreciation for the work being done internationally to improve the physician profession, and we have returned with new ideas to better in-Training for the medical student community.
Our thanks to Albany Medical College and the Alumni Association for their support in making this journey possible. And, of course, to the phenomenal team of writers and editors worldwide for joining us in our mission to unite medical students worldwide, our sincerest gratitude.
Until next time: Ciao!