The Global Advisory Board: Implementing Health Professional School Reform

Amanda PuckettThe enthusiasm and excitement were palpable at the March 17th inaugural meeting of the Global Advisory Board on Strengthening Medical, Nursing, and Public Health Schools in Developing Countries.

Led by Board Chairman Dr. Ok Pannenborg and cochair Dr. Kate Tulenko, the board members asserted a firm commitment and solid leadership in support of the implementation of health professional school reform. During the meeting, members discussed key issues pertinent to strengthening health professional schools and shared with each other their global expertise.

By engaShaun Noronhaging senior representatives and thought-leaders from international institutions including various donor organizations, the Global Advisory Board is uniquely positioned to drive implementation of health workforce development needs. The board has the opportunity to be influential in human resources for health, particularly for decisions related to preservice education.

Acutely tuned to the real needs of scaling up the health workforce and health professional school reform in developing countries, the board complements initiatives such as the Medical and Nursing Education Partnership Initiatives and Initiative on Transformative Scale-Up of Health Professional Education. The board can function to transfer best practices and lessons learned across many initiatives.

A few of the themes originating during the meeting that the board members will drive forward included:

  • Ensuring implementation of plans
  • Strengthening school accreditation and governance
  • Supporting local government buy-in and leadership
  • Creating management tools and metrics for improving health worker education.

Many of these themes and others will undoubtedly be explored as the board continues to develop its role in health professional school reform.

The board’s first task is to advise and provide oversight to CapacityPlus’s School Management Efficiency Program. This innovative program will develop tools and standards for management structures and practices of health professional schools and provide guidance that will ultimately be used to strengthen school management and planning.

As part of this work, the management efficiency at two health professional schools will be improved so they can train more high-quality workers and leverage existing resources. These efforts are timely and urgently needed. As board member Dr. Jie Chen, professor at Shanghai Medical School, China, noted, “School management and administration is an Achilles heel in most HRH higher education institutions.”

The preservice education field has been very fragmented, preventing the flow of innovation. The wheels have been set in motion for the new Global Advisory Board to provide much needed high-level leadership. With the board’s support, guidance, and authority, health professional education will no doubt be strengthened and a greater quantity of well-qualified and locally relevant health workers will be available to serve the needs of populations in developing countries.

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Photos by Jennifer Solomon