Capacity building in medical education and health outcomes in developing countries: the missing link

Educ Health (Abingdon). 2007 Nov;20(3):65. Epub 2007 Nov 20.


Background: Finding evidence for the link between capacity building in medical education and improved health outcomes in developing countries is an important challenge. We describe the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) Institute, a two year, part-time fellowship in medical education methodology and leadership and its evaluation as a model to bridge this gap by collecting quantitative and qualitative data on intermediary outcomes.

Methods: FAIMER has used the following framework of human capacity building programs: 1) identify young and talented individuals with potential to become agents for change; 2) organize and deliver an effective learning intervention that is relevant for the environment; 3) facilitate the opportunity for real-life application of acquired knowledge and skills with support; and 4) promote development of a sustainable career path with opportunities for growth and advancement.

Results: Twenty-three percent of curriculum innovation projects were directly related to community health. Of the 35 fellows in the first three classes of the Institute, there have been 11 promotions, 9 peer-reviewed publications and 14 international poster presentations, indicating development of the medical education field. Other qualitative and quantitative program evaluation data are presented.

Discussion: The link between capacity building in medical education and improved health can be demonstrated in several ways: align curriculum with local health needs, place learners in community clinical settings, teach basic healthcare workers, become involved in national policy development and develop the field of medical education.

Conclusion: While experimental models may not be possible to evaluate the effect of capacity building, methods described may help support the connection between improved medical education and health.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Planning* / organization & administration
  • Developing Countries*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate* / methods
  • Fellowships and Scholarships / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care* / methods
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States
  • Workforce