I feel deeply honoured to be addressing this global community for the first time as AMEE President. I feel privileged that my term starts at a time when AMEE has established itself as the leading international association for health professions educators, clinical and non-clinical, through the pioneering spirit of so many leaders before me. I have watched in wonder the rapid growth of the organisation over the last 2 decades, with members and conference participants representing nearly 100 countries around the world. AMEE has a team of dedicated staff behind the scenes who makes everything possible and I am delighted that I will be forging closer relationships with all of them. The Executive board comprises an international team of educational leaders with so much experience, expertise and collective wisdom, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with and be guided by them.
AMEE was envisioned by a small group of wise health professions educators 50 years ago. These pioneers were guided by their passion, incredible sense of commitment and tireless hard work. Their vision created this wonderful organisation based in Dundee and spread to include many European countries and then across oceans to involve many countries around the world. They emphasised that medical education is a field of its own and teachers and educators need professional development too. In addition to this message, the founders promoted the many forms of scholarship described by Ernest Boyer through the AMEE conferences and publications such as Medical Teacher. These values were a little different for that time as research was not promoted as the only vehicle for scholars. What role-models they were and are for so many of us who have dedicated our professional lives to education, inspired by them. In this tribute, I would like to honour Professor Ronald Harden, Ms. Patricia Lilley, Professor Trevor Gibbs, Professor Trudie Roberts and numerous past presidents who have laid the foundation for what AMEE is today.
AMEE now has 1540 members representing 178 countries around the world. I still remember the year the conferences moved from a university campus to a congress centre. The organisation had moved into the big time. With this, members’ access to the best world experts in health professions education had expanded and the ability to network in person with such experts- something that was a dream for early career educators. Medical Teacher was one of the journals that offered a wide scope for scholarly outputs and a new model of publication was started by AMEE- MedEdPUBLISH, with post publication peer reviews. Connections and collaborations have been forged and sustained among educators from far flung parts of the world. Community building gathered momentum among members.
I have now been charged with carrying the organisation forward over the next few years, along with a team of experts and staff, it is time to reflect on how to keep the momentum going, continue to be innovative in designing new initiatives, engage members in receiving and giving back and continue to build strong communities of practice. Taking from the past is as important as learning from the past and deciding what to keep and let go. Therefore, evolution and change are not optional but critical to keep up with the times, new challenges and changing educational needs. I envision a broad theme of “Nurturing an inclusive global community of educators in HPE.” What might this look like?
Inclusivity and transparency
The covid-19 pandemic caused irreparable harm in many ways to countries and people around the world. Perhaps one benefit was that it forced HP educators to adapt quickly to major challenges and become architects of educational change. In this process, there was some flattening of traditional professional hierarchies, opinions of learners and young educators were sought, and co-creation is being talked about more. Educators also started reaching out to colleagues around the world to share challenges and successes, spurring global conversations. AMEE should continue to harness this spirit of inclusivity and stimulate café conversations on important educational topics and initiatives virtually as well as during in-person conferences. The avenues of engaging in the organisation should be transparent to members at all levels from all regions of the world.
The value proposition
The value of belonging to the AMEE community should be clear to its members, not only in how members can learn and develop by participating in the many educational initiatives, but also in how one can give back. We will continue to welcome non-members who actively participate in, benefit from and share their wisdom during annual conferences and webinars. Members will experience additional benefits, most importantly opportunities to network and collaborate with an amazing cohort of international health professions educational leaders and scholars and other educational resources. We also hope to expand the cohort of associate fellows and fellows who will actively contribute new and innovative ideas, benefit from belonging to these communities and continue their own professional development.
AMEE has been able to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic by increasing its virtual presence and reaching many corners of the world. The successful return to in-person conference in Lyon is a testament to the hard work of the leadership and administrative team. As an organisation, we need to be prepared to anticipate and adapt to new challenges, yet meet the goals of our worldwide community with empathy and compassion. We should embrace and welcome diverse contributions and respect perspectives across a variety of learning and societal cultures, across generations and across healthcare disciplines. AMEE should serve as a venue for the professional growth of all health professions educators, from early to mid to late career, and emphasise a growth mindset at all levels.
A caring organisation
By supporting those who educate healthcare professionals, AMEE aims to ultimately improve the quality of healthcare. We have an obligation to support health professions educators across the world and we are in a unique position to do so. Caring for our global community of educators and learners, individuals who form this community, respecting perspectives of individuals from all regions of the world, nurturing an inclusive global community, serving future generations of educators.
As the current President, I would like to build on the tremendous legacy established by the founders and past AMEE presidents while creating and capitalising on new educational and innovative opportunities alongside the AMEE CEO, Dr. Anne Lloyd, the Executive Board members, AMEE leadership team and staff. Attention to member needs and engagement as well as the spirit of inclusivity will be emphasised.