World Federation for Medical Education (WFME)
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The World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) is the global organisation concerned with medical education and training of medical doctors as well as undergraduate students.
WFME - founded in 1972 - is the global organisation concerned with the education and training of medical students and medical doctors at all levels.
WFME works for the global provision of competent medical and health-care-service personnel and strives for the highest scientific and ethical standards in medical education in cooperation with other organisations.
WFME is an umbrella organisation for its six Regional Associations for Medical Education.
WFME is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in relation to WHO. It also has close collaboration with UNESCO, WMA, IFMSA and other partners.
WFME's central office has since 1996 been located at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in collaboration with the University of Lund, Sweden. Together, the two faculties and WFME have established the Copenhagen-Lund University Centre for International Medical Education (CLUCIME).
Its activities cover all stages of medical education like undergraduate, postgraduate and specialist education and continuing medical education. The WFME has published WFME Global Standards for Quality Improvement and WHO/WFME Guidelines for Accreditation of Basic Medical Education.
The World Federation for Medical Education was founded in 1972 and has its office in Copenhagen, Denmark. The federation serves today with the purpose of being an umbrella organisation for its regional associations for medical education, following the regional structure of the World Health Organisation. Three other institutions related to the field of medical education are also members of the WFME Executive Council.
The three institutions are
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- World Medical Association (WMA)
- International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA)
WFME serves as an umbrella organisation for six regional organisations for medical education. These are the:
- Association of Medical Schools in Africa (AMSA)
- Pan American Federation of Associations of Medical Schools (PAFAMS)
- Association for Medical Education in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (AMEEMR)
- Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE)
- South-East Asian Regional Association for Medical Education (SEARAME)
- Association for Medical Education in the Western Pacific Region (AMEWPR)
For a list of the regional associations and their current presidents, please follow this link!
"WFME's general objective is to strive for the highest scientific and ethical standards in medical education, taking initiatives with respect to new methods, new tools, and management of medical education." (from the website of the WFME).
Members of their executive council are the president, the immidiate past president, the presidents of the regional organisations, represantitives of the WHO, WMA, IFMSA and ECFMG. The chairman of the Executive Council is currently Professor Stefan Lindgren, Lund University, Sweden.
WFME is undertaking a number of different activities, e.g. the Guidelines for the use of Information and Communication Technology in Medical Education.
The process of implementing the WFME Programme on Global Standards in Medical Education, as documented in the Trilogy of Global Standards for Quality Improvement of Medical Education, is progressing:
- Pilot Studies have been expanded from the Standards in Basic Medical Education to the Standards in Postgraduate Medical Education and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of Medical Doctors.
- The number of medical schools and other educational institutions which are using the WFME Standards in programme development is rapidly increasing. Also, the number of authorities or agencies, which are incorporating the Standards in national and regional standard setting and systems of accreditation, is growing.
- A manual for WFME advisors has now been developed. An advisor corps, representing all regions, with the purpose of assisting medical schools in utilising the WFME Global Standards, is now ready.
- Based on the results of a task force meeting on accreditation, WHO and WFME have now defined guidelines for accreditation of basic medical education institutions and programmes.
- A new programme for Promotion of Accreditation of Basic Medical Education has been developed. The idea is to offer assistance to institutions and agencies regarding the various steps of an accreditation procedure. Interested institutions, organisations and agencies are invited to take advantage of this programme. Contact should be made to the WFME Office.
The WHO – WFME Strategic Partnership to improve medical education is now working in close collaboration with the WHO Regional Offices. Concrete examples are a process of supporting medical education reforms in the CIS countries, development of accreditation systems in the Eastern Mediterranean region and capacity building of health manpower in Sub-Saharan Africa and quality development of medical education in e.g. Latin America, South East Asia and the Western Pacific Region.
A statement on the Bologna Process and its relationship to medical education has been developed jointly by WFME and AMEE. The organisations endorse the purpose of the Bologna Declaration and support that medical education as a part of higher education should be fully involved in the Bologna Process. However, the specificity of medical curricula and the current situation of European medical schools must be considered, and it is the opinion that the two-cycle division in a Bachelor and a Master degree would invalidate endeavours to integrate basic and clinical sciences in the medical curriculum.
A Task Force under the EU project MEDINE, organised by WFME and Association of Medical Schools in Europe (AMSE), is working on a proposal for definition of European Standards in medical education. The Task Force had its first meeting in January 2006 and is now conducting a survey on recognition/accreditation systems in medical education in Europe. More information can be obtained from the WFME Office.
WFME is now working with WHO about changes of the WHO Directory of Medical Schools to a comprehensive Database on Health Professions Education Institutions, comprising not only medical schools, but also educational institutions for dentistry, public health, physiotherapy, pharmacy, midwifery and nursing. This is the Avicenna project . It is also part of the new development to include qualitative information about institutions and programmes such as accreditation issues.
For more information about these activities, please visit the WFME website.
International Standards in Basic Medical Education
This project has defined standards to outline minimum requirements of medical education institutions worldwide.
The project has three main intentions:
- to stimulate medical schools to formulate their own plans for change and for quality improvement in accordance with international recommendations
- to establish a system of national and/or international assessment and accreditation of medical schools to assure minimum quality standards for medical school programmes
- to safeguard practice in medicine and medical manpower utilisation, and its increasing internationalisation, by well-defined international standards of medical education
The standards are divided into two levels:
- Basic standards - should be fulfilled by all institutions involved in ME
- Standards for quality development - serves as an incentive for development and a leverage for improvement
Standards are defined in these two levels for each of the following areas of work and administration/planning of the medical school:
- Mission and objectives
- Educational program and principles
- Assessment of educational outcomes
- Academic staff/faculty
- Educational resources
- Monitoring and evaluation of programs and courses
- Governance and administration
- Continuous renewal of the medical school
3rd World Conference on Medical Education
In March 2003 WFME is organising the 3rd World Conference on Medical Education in Copenhagen, Denmark. The theme for the event will be "Global Standards in Medical Education for Better Health Care".
The aim is to stimulate a "debate among decision-makers in medical education and health care about the complex question of introducing generally accepted global standards in medical education in order to promote the quality of health care delivery systems".
Following the WFME World Conference in Medical Education: Global Standards in Medical Education for Better Health Care, Copenhagen, Denmark, March 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) and WFME decided to establish a Joint Policy on Promotion of Health Systems Performance Through Improvement of Health Professions Education. As a result, a WHO/WFME strategic partnership to improve medical education was formulated in January 2004. The partnership agreement is available on www.who.int or www.wfme.org.
A brochure outlining the partnership can be ordered from the WFME office. An action plan was finalized in June 2004 for the WHO-WFME joint policy covering the period 2004-2006.
Since 1997 the WFME is affiliated with the journal “Medical Education”. “Medical Education” is one of the leading publications in the field of medical education.
IFMSA and WFME
At the WFME Executive Council (EC) meeting in Vienna in 1997 it was decided that IFMSA should be represented in the EC by its president for a period of 2-3 years for continuity's sake. Given the fact that turnover rate is rather high in IFMSA it was agreed that the IFMSA representative could also be a past-president. Since the workload of the IFMSA president is too heavy, it was later decided to establish the Liaison Officer for Medical Education Issues (LOMEi) who now represents the EB of IFMSA in the Executive Council of the WFME.
The EC meeting in Copenhagen in September 2000 was the first time that IFMSA attended a WFME activity.
The collaboration between IFMSA and WFME in the year 2001 was fruitful, first and foremost in relation to the IFMSA August meeting, where WFME contributed with valuable expertise to the roundtable discussions "Implementing International Standards in Basic Medical Education" and "Impact of Technology on Health Education". A concrete outcome of these discussions are two policy statements that will serve as a basis for IFMSA activities in these fields in the coming years. The workshop "Future of Medical Education" was organised under the patronage of WFME.
In its two annual General Assembly (GA) meetings and numerous international trainings and workshops IFMSA offers a good venue for the members of WFME to share their ideas with medical students, and to get direct input from the next generation of physicians.
IFMSA aims at working actively together with the regional associations for medical education in the future development of medical training, and the organisation wishes to be involved in the work of the regional associations to the largest extent possible.
The preparations for the "3rd World Conference on Medical Education" is a concrete example of ongoing collaboration between the two organisations. IFMSA has been invited as one of the collaborating partners in organising this important event, and will thus have the opportunity of participating in shaping policies and opinions in the very field that dominates our life as medical students and future doctors - namely our everyday medical education.
- WFME Global Standards for Quality Improvement
- WHO/WFME Guidelines for Accreditation of Basic Medical Education