With the cost of health professions education on the rise (Webster & North, 2022) and health professions education experiencing rapid change (Thibault, 2020), there has been an increasing focus on ensuring equity and access to health professional education. From November 2 to 4, 2022, the University of Miami hosted the International Conference on the Future of Health Professions Education in Coral Gables, Florida. This conference brought together leaders in health professions education from around the world to discuss how they can meet the challenges of the 21st century and prepare for the next generation of health professionals. The conference covered various topics related to professional health education, including competency-based education, interprofessional education, IT-facilitated education, and innovations in health professions education. NextGenU.org had the esteemed honor of being part of this highly anticipated conference which featured keynote addresses and a plenary session by Dr. Erica Frank, MD, MPH, FACPM, inventor/founder (in 2001) of NextGenU.org, and David J. Skorton, BA, MD, CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
The conference highlighted the need to increase the number of qualified healthcare providers, reduce disparities, and improve the overall health of communities by ensuring everyone has access to high-quality healthcare. NextGenU.org was lauded for its continued efforts and commitment to providing free, exemplary, online health professional education for students in low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Skorton introduced Dr. Frank as the “Rolling Stones,” indicative of the remarkable progress made by the foundation in advancing professional health education globally.
During her presentation, Dr. Frank summarized the work of the Ulrich and Ruth Frank Foundation for International Health (Frank Foundation) and demonstrated how we are making a difference in underserved and resource-constrained societies by improving public health education. She highlighted that 70% of our registered users in 2022 were medical students and physicians, approximately half originating from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). She spoke passionately of the STEPS program, which aims to remove barriers to quality primary school education by providing access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education for grades 1 to 5 in Benin, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
NextGenU.org remains committed to providing quality health education. By working together, sharing resources, and creating strategic partnerships, we can make professional health education accessible to everyone and level the playing field for all. If you are interested in collaborating, volunteering, or being part of our community of learners, visit our website at https://nextgenu.org/ to learn more!
Thibault, G.E. (2020). “The future of health professions education: Emerging trends in the United States. FASEB BioAdvances, 2(12): 685-694. https://doi.org/10.1096/fba.2020-00061.
Webster, P. and North, S. (2022). “Health professions education debt: Personal, professional, and psychological impact 5 years post-graduation.” Frontiers in Medicine, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2022.746463.