Latin America Grants Program Funds Development Opportunities

Posted October 11, 2019

In support of NBME’s mission, the Latin America Grants program was created in 2017 to give institutions outside of the U.S. and Canada the opportunity to improve their assessment tools through funding and counsel from NBME. Each grant provides up to $50,000 over a two-year period to foster the development of a regional health professions school evaluation consortium.

As a requirement for receiving funding for the second year, the three consortia selected for the 2018-2020 cycle submitted reports of their work, including progress, unexpected outcomes, and next steps, after one year. M. Brownell Anderson, Vice President of Medical Education Global Initiatives at NBME, is pleased to share that all consortia are making great progress in their projects and none have requested extensions or changes to their initial goals.

Here are some highlights regarding each of the funded projects.

Teacher Development for Programmatic Evaluation of Students in Health Degree Courses in Brazil submitted by a consortium of six Brazilian medical schools

This work focuses on creating a critical mass of trained teachers at the participating schools and degree courses to develop projects that will result in the implementation of programmatic student assessment, institutional responsibility, and centralized coordination. There is an emphasis on the formative assessment of clinical abilities, sustained by actual teacher development initiatives.

By the end of 2019, principal investigators, Drs. Valdes Bollela and Luiz Troncon, will have conducted 11 highly interactive workshops and trained 396 faculty from four different states in Brazil. These workshops introduce participants to a range of assessment tools and techniques as well as general assessment principles. The workshops provide participants with actual tools they can employ when returning to their “day jobs.” Drs. Bollela and Troncon have organized the workshops so that multiple faculty at a single school participate, which reinforces the likelihood that changes will be made to school-wide assessment programs.

MOOC Design for Training Teachers in Educational Assessment in Health Sciences submitted by a consortium of three medical schools in Mexico

The goal of this project is to design, create, pilot, and implement a Spanish MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) for educational assessment in health sciences on the Coursera platform. The project prioritizes the assessment of clinical proficiency and, in the process, training 30 teaching physicians from three Mexican universities.

During the first year, the consortium held meetings and workshops to define the contents of the MOOC and begin development. NBME staff member Miguel Paniagua, MD, presented two days of workshops on clinical assessment using technology platforms. Fifteen professors from the consortium were trained and have developed the MOOC content. With the support of the Coursera production team, Promotional and “Welcome to the Course” videos were recorded with the project leaders, as well as an interview with Dr. Paniagua, to be included in the MOOC course as complementary material. In January 2020, the course will be available to the public.

Assessment of Abilities and Skills by Direct Observation in Medical Internship submitted by two medical schools in Brazil

The primary goal of the project is to develop a continuous recording methodology for abilities and skills acquired over the course of the internship. There are four specific goals: 1) To create a roster of abilities and skills to be recorded in a common manner in the medical courses involved in the project. 2) To train internship teachers and supervisors to use the same criteria in certifying the acquisition of abilities and skills, with the ability to provide qualitative feedback to the student in each evaluation. 3) To create a secure recording system that can be shared by all institutions and accessed remotely. 4) To evaluate the results obtained.

During the first year, the consortium had fourteen working meetings with the professors and students to discuss the best strategies to create a matrix of skills and assess students’ skills during internship by direct observation. Additionally, two open courses were held for all professors who are involved with the internship to introduce the faculty to the topics considered most important, disseminate ideas, and discuss work proposals with the faculty. The consortium members were able to produce instructional material for the training and certification of reliability activities of students.

M. Brownell Anderson is excited to see what 2020 will hold for the grant recipients. She said, “The work they have accomplished with $25,000 this past year has been exceptional. They each have used the funds as ‘seed’ money to develop workshops that include dozens of faculty members or for project development. The tools they have created can be used for many schools beyond the consortium grantee schools.”

The 2020-2022 grant cycle has been announced and information can be found here.

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