PRIME Partnerships in International Medical Education - Restoring a Christian ethos to medical education worldwide
Modern medicine has developed from an essentially Christian world-view and in Western countries has been greatly influenced by the Christian tradition of hospitality and caring for the sick. However during the 20th century medical education became increasingly secularised and focussed on the bio-physical model of disease, losing sight of a holistic view of the person that includes awareness of a spiritual dimension. Former Communist countries in particular have little recent tradition of caring and medical education there tends to be characterised by poor role-models and out-dated didactic teaching. In the resource poor countries of the global South there are many Christian hospitals and clinics but often a lack of experienced medical teachers. Partnerships in International Medical Education (PRIME)’s vision and mission is to support health-care education worldwide to restore a Christian based holistic approach to patients and act as a resource where needed, tailoring medical educational programmes to meet the needs of overseas partners (or colleagues in the NHS). Using interactive leaner-centred and problem based educational methods PRIME tutors (all experienced and qualified Christian medical educators) seek to model patient centred care by using learner centred teaching, valuing each person as a bearer of the image of God. Most of PRIME’s teaching involves the doctor-patient relationship, communication skills, compassion, ethics and professionalism, often based around particular clinical scenarios to suit the learners. Small teams of voluntary tutors visiting partner institutions and colleagues for a few weeks a year can have a surprisingly large impact, as those grasping the vision become advocates for positive change in their own situations. Training of trainers and teachers in learner centred, androgogic methodology to build capacity and sustainability is also a major part of the work.
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