Summary: After a successful meeting at the International Conference in Medical Education in Istanbul, Turkey, Professor Harden informs us of the events that happened. Description: I returned last week from a very successful International Conference in Medical Education in Istanbul.  In my opening plenary I developed further a theme I introduced at previous conferences on the need for greater collaboration in medical education with the provocative proposal that we should move to a medical school without boundaries.  I was interested that during the meeting several people told me that their school were already moving in some ways in this direction.  The conference was opened by Doctor Sare Davutoglu, the First Lady of Turkey.  She arrived by helicopter on the conference centre roof surrounded by a mass of photographers.  She said that she wanted to stay to hear my presentation.  All too often at conferences, dignitaries arrive including leading figures in the local medical school and leave immediately after their opening remarks.  Hassan Khan, Pro- Vice Chancellor, Riphah International University, Pakistan, welcomed participants and in his opening remarks highlighted the importance of the ASPIRE-to-Excellence initiative promoting standards in medical education. 
 
Professor Masood Anwar, Dean at Riphah International University and members of the local committee in Istanbul proved excellent hosts and engaged us with a very well organised meeting where the sessions kept to time and the speakers made good use of the excellent audio visual facilities available.  Some leading international figures and local teachers contributed useful thoughts and ideas in their presentations to the theme of the meeting Future Challenges in Health Professions Education.  Deborah Murdoch-Eaton, Gohar Wajid, Hirotaka Onishi, Hossam Hamdy, John Dent, John Sandars, Brownie Anderson, Matthew Gwee, Carol Capello, Ming-Jung Ho and Niv Patil were some of the international speakers at the meeting in addition to those noted below.
 
Students featured prominently in the meeting and in the discussions following the presentations, highlighting students as partners in the education process, rather than simply consumers.  A number of the students had attended AMEE conferences and served on the student taskforce.  The photograph shows me with a group of the enthusiastic local students.  In my opening presentation I gave as an example of international collaboration in medical education, the MedEdWorld programme of online problem-based learning sessions with students participating from around the world, sharing their views on the management of a problem.  The photograph I used showed two students from Turkey and they were immediately recognised by the local audience.  In a session on the role of students in curriculum planning, Dan Hunt referred to the ASPIRE award to Southampton University Medical School in the category of Student Engagement for their submission which included a feature ‘you said…..we did.’  The school made clear the action they had taken following comments from students.  He had promoted the idea in the USA and showed a slide from the University of Arizona College of Medicine where they had taken up the idea.  In response to a question as to the cultural dependency of excellence in medical education, he pointed out that medical schools from twelve countries around the world had already received an ASPIRE award.

IMG_0399.JPG

I was opening discussant at a session on ‘Curriculum: challenges a new perspective and design’, with contributions from Charlotte Ringsted, Andre Jaques Nuesy and Khalid Bin Abdulrahman.  The speakers challenged us as to what target we are aiming for in medical education.  AJ described the important contribution being made by the NET in directing medical education more to social accountability and the need for greater collaboration with healthcare systems.  Charlotte Ringsted reviewed how we now have a vocabulary in the form of learning outcomes, competencies and entrustable professional activities which can help us to look at our aims.  She highlighted that the move to competency-based education is a reality not a fad.  An issue arising from her presentation was the level of granularity at which outcomes, competencies or EPAs should be specified.  Khalid Bin Abdulrahman discussed how progress can be made in practice based on his experience with a new medical school in Saudi Arabia. 
 
We ran an ESME course at the meeting and this was well received.  Participants were mainly from the region although we had representation from elsewhere including Australia.  Such activities always remind me that the basic principles in medical education are the same in different countries around the world, although some of the detail may be different.  In the final presentation Fadil Citaku from Switzerland related the emotional intelligences of self- awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy and effective relationships to the features of leadership – social responsibility innovation, self-management, task-management and justice orientation.  This built on work he had reported in the BMJ previously.  80-90% of professional competencies that differentiated top performers are related to emotional intelligence.  He left us with the finding that effective leaders smile three times more than average leaders.
 
During the meeting I was given copies of two new journals in medical education.  The Journal of Medical Students is a research journal for medical and dental students internationally.  The Managing Editor is based at Rehman Medical College Peshawar, Pakistan.  The second journal was AHPE – Advances in Health Professions Education which is the official journal of Khyber Medical University (KMU), Pakistan.  An article in the first issue looks at community expectations about the attributes of a professional doctor in Pakistan and highlights the difference between the features expected by the public and the medical school curriculum.  Other articles look at professionalism in medical education, students’ perspective of the OSCE in dentistry, the education environment in remote and urban areas, and teachers’ perception of their roles – all important topics.
 
The AMEE stand at the conference aroused a lot of interest and a number of new members were recruited.  All the copies of the AMEE Guides we had with us were sold.  Elsevier were platinum sponsors for the meeting and had a large commercial stand.  Promoted was my new book with Pat Lilley and Madalena Patricio – The Definitive Guide to the OSCE, where we had a book signing session.

IMG_0167.JPG
Dr Jyoti Nagmoti who is Professor of Microbiology & Director of the University Department of Education for Health Professions (UDEHP) in J N Medical College, Belgaum, Karnataka and colleagues purchased copies of the OSCE book.  Their enthusiasm and interest in medical education was impressive.

Back home we are finalising arrangements for two of our own conferences.  The Ottawa Conference in Perth in March and the AMEE 2016 conference in Barcelona in August. 
 
I leave early November for the AAMC medical education meeting in Baltimore.  One of the sessions is devoted to the ASPIRE Faculty Development initiative led by David Irby.  If you will be at the meeting please do look us up at the AMEE stand in the exhibition hall.  Before then a main challenge I have at home is to bring in from my garden to the greenhouses plants that need frost protection over the winter period and also pot on the 200 or so geranium and fuchsia cuttings which are growing nicely for the hanging basket and pot displays for next year.
 
I was delighted to see that Dundee, where there has been much renovation in the city centre, has been named top city in this year’s Britain in bloom.  The judges commended the quality of green spaces in the city and the standard to which they were maintained.  Dundee University has also picked up an environment award for its recycling efforts