Air Marshal Dr Pawan Kapoor (Retd.), Vice-Chancellor, Lincoln American University (LAU), was recently invited to attend the “National Seminar on Attainment of Quality Benchmarks in Medical Education...Responsibilities of Health Institutions”, at the King George Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh w.e.f. 2nd- 3rd December 2021 and deliver the keynote address on the trending topic of “Quality in Medical Education-Why, What & How.”
The welcome address was delivered by Lt Gen Bipin Puri (Retd), Vice-Chancellor of KGMU, and the Inaugural address was delivered by Ms Anandiben, Honourable Governor of UP. This was followed by addresses by luminaries like Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman of Narayana Group of Hospitals and Dr Kumud Mohan Rai, Director and Head of Vascular Surgery, Max Hospital and Chairman ECHO India.
Several significant and well-experienced personalities of healthcare institutions actively participated in this seminar. Air Marshal Dr Pawan Kapoor presented his years of experience and their learning while addressing the well informed and interested audience about the significance of quality education in medical studies, the challenges and the ways to overcome them. With him, he also brought his grandeur of experience, not just as a Vice-Chancellor of LAU but also as the Vice-Chairman of Rus Education, a leading education provider in India for MBBS abroad.
During his keynote address, he apprised the august audience on the need for introducing quality in medical education based upon the available standards. He shared his observations as the Vice-Chancellor of LAU and suggested multiple methodologies for the implementation of a quality-oriented medical education system in various institutions.
He put forth first-hand experiences of the challenges he had faced, and the ways in which he overcame them while making this paradigm shift in the overall learning process starting from as fundamental as the infrastructural requirements, learning needs of students, faculty training, etc.
He discussed issues related to both the students as well as the faculty with regard to their continual learning and development. He highlighted that these are dynamic and need to evolve and be rectified with the changing times, technology and environment.
During the keynote address, he further emphasized the importance of student feedback, staff development, curriculum implementation, objective assessment systems that support learning, and strategies for building clinical skills as some of the ways and means of implementing quality-oriented medical education by giving real-life examples. He stressed problem-based learning and assessment methods that not only provide aid to decision making but also help to identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of the students so that the strengths could be consolidated and shared and weaknesses could be overcome or eliminated.
He gave practical examples of the changes he made in the curricular and administrative aspects of LAU that resulted in improved outcomes. He recalled the administrative, operational as well as functional challenges that were faced by him and the difficulties he experienced in their implementation. What matters, in the long run, is patience and perseverance that do result in overcoming the resistance to change and in improving outcomes. While conceptualising Quality is a function of the mind but implementation is related to the heart and the passion with which one executes the concept. He further stated that only time would actually determine the efficiency of these transpositions.
Continuing his views on further stimulating the need for improvement in the quality of medical education, he suggested that it is imperative for the healthcare institutions to ensure that their training programs inculcate in the medical students, suitable proportions of knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour so that they are able to meet the healthcare needs and demands of the community they are going to serve in a scientific evidence-based, compassionate, collaborative & ethical manner.
He went on to share all the quality measures that he had implanted at LAU, School of medicine, that has resulted in the desired changes in the clinical competence and capabilities of the aspiring students.
In his concluding remarks, he quoted the lines by India’s First Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s, ‘My Tryst With Destiny’, “The ambition of the greatest men of our older generations had been to wipe every tear from every eye.” Air Marshal Dr Pawan Kapoor further added to this, “This may be beyond us but as long as there are tears, there is suffering, disease and disability, so long our job as providers of medical education will not be over. Therefore we have to labour, ,work hard and give realism to each other’s dreams. The dream of every medical aspirant is to become a doctor, and our dream is to make them effective doctors.”
Several significant names like Dr S.P. Thyaganrajan, Vice-Chancellor of Avineshelingam Institute of Home Sciences & Higher Education for Women, Prof. Uma Singh, Dean, Academics, KGMU, Dr Alex Thomas, President, AHPI, Dr G. Gyani, Director General, AHPI, Dr Anshu, Coordinator, Integral Quality Assurance Cell, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr Sunita Patil, Prof. Pathology & Director, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research (KAHER), Dr Michael Ho, Consultant, Leagues Dental Institute, UK, Dr Kashifa Harif, Deputy Director, NABH, Dr Dinesh K. Badyal, CMC, Ludhiana, Prof. Ravi Kant, Ex-Director, AIIMS Rishikesh, Dr A.K. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical University, Dr Kamlakar Tripathi, Professor Medicine, BHU, and Dr Sudha Sheshayyan, Vice-Chancellor MGR Medical University, attended and participated in the seminar.
The thoughts and opinions of Air Marshal Dr Pawan Kapoor were well received by the audience as well as his peers. He finally concluded his presentation by stating that “Quality is a journey, not a destination”, and therefore we have to remain updated and contemporary in our knowledge and attributes to make the health of the community we serve safe, timely, efficient, and effective.