Higher Education Project – Medical Education

In collaboration with the UMass Center for International Education, the UMass Institute for Global Health is participating in a $5.4 million project funded by US AID to improve the quality of medical education and establish the first School of Public Health in Afghanistan.  The Higher Education Project – Medical Education (HEP-ME) was initiated in July 2009.   Project partners include the Institute for Global Health; the University of Nebraska Medical Center; Indiana University; the Academy for Educational Development; and the UMass Center for International Education.

The HEP-ME project has six major components: (1) creating a new MPH degree program; (2) revising existing public health courses in the undergraduate medical education program; (3) improving clinical rotations for medical students; (4) building capacity in English as a Second Language; (5) building capacity in informational technologies, and (6) institutional development.

In this project, the IGH has two major deliverables.  KMU recently completed a curriculum revision process that resulted in the addition of 7 new public health courses to be taught to all medical students in Afghanistan.  (Like many countries, Afghan students go straight from secondary school into a 6-year medical degree program at age 18.)  Although this curriculum exists on paper, it needs a lot of work.  We are working feverishly to have the seven UG public health courses revised, in time for the new semester, in March 2010, a process that includes running short courses in Kabul to build faculty capacity to teach the classes,

The second major product is to design a new two-year post-graduate Master of Public Health degree program.  The new Chancellor at KMU has initiated an ambitious plan to re-organize the medical university along western lines, with a School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Dentistry, and a new School of Public Health.  He has appointed 8 faculty members to serve as the core of the new public health program.  Within a 1.5 year timeframe, our goal is to design a new two-year post-graduate degree program, shepherd its approval through the Ministry of Higher Education’s policies and procedures process, and conduct sufficient faculty development such that they will be prepared to implement the new degree program January 2011.