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Collaborating with international medical education colleagues – Strategies for bridging cultural differences

Day: Saturday 27 August
Time: 1330-1630
Venue: Lyon Congress Centre

Presenters: Monica Van de Ridder1, Elizabeth Kachur2, Shan Abbas3, TJ Jirasevijinda4, Marjo Wijnen-Meijer5
1 Michigan State University, Grand Rapids, USA
2 Medical Education Consultant, New York, USA
3 Spectrum Health, Michigan State University, Grand Rapids, USA
4 Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, USA
5 Technical University of Munich, TUM School of Medicine, TUM Medical Education Center, Munich, Germany

Background: A consequence of globalization in medical education is the movement of medical students, residents, staff and faculty across national boundaries (Stevens & Goulbourne, 2012; Hodges et al, 2009). When working abroad, medical educators often experience challenges as a result of cultural differences. A USA surgeon explained: “My residents are afraid of my colleague who emigrated from Eastern Europe, the direct communication style scares them. My colleague feels bad about it too.” Successful collaborating with medical education colleagues from different countries requires a deep understanding of the local culture and related traditions, communication styles, and (hidden) norms and values. Failure to pay attention to these intercultural factors can lead to misunderstanding and conflicts, which can affect, frustration, lack of trust, a person’s credibility, frustration, and progress in projects. Unfortunately, training in this area is lacking. The goal of this pre-conference workshop is to (a) explore challenges, opportunities and dilemmas related to international collaboration in medical education, (b) apply one framework (Hofstede´s National Culture Model) to bridge cultural differences, (c) formulate general guidelines for future international collaborations, and (d) provide a networking opportunity for those working abroad, or plan to do so.
Who Should Participate: Administrators, faculty, staff, residents and medical students who have worked, are working, or planning to work in an international context.
Structure of Workshop: Interactive exercise in which participants share their challenges of working in an international context. A theoretical overview discusses Hofstede’s model and other perspectives (Stevens & Goulbourne, 2012; Hodges et al, 2009). In small groups participants discuss a personal dilemmas or a vignette about a difficult collaboration scenario. During a large group discussion lessons learned will be reviewed. The session will be closed with take home messages).
Intended Outcomes:

  • Learn from, provide suggestions to, and receive input on other participant’s experiences (successes, failures and dilemma’s) with international collaboration.

  • Know the dimensions of Hofstede´s culture model and apply these to analyze participant’s failures and dilemma’s encountered in international collaboration.

  • Explore generalizable ‘guidelines’ for international collaboration which apply to each national culture.

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