Faculty development projects for international health professions educators: Vehicles for institutional change?

Med Teach. 2012;34(1):38-44. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.558538.


Background: Projects are an important tool in faculty development, and project emphasis may offer insights into perceived education priorities. Impact of projects has been focused on individuals, not institutions or health.

Aim: Education innovation projects of Fellows in an international faculty development program were examined to better understand perceived needs in health professions education and institutional impact of projects.

Method: Four hundred and thirty-five projects were analyzed to identify focus areas. Fellows were asked to identify changes in their schools and communities resulting from their projects.

Results: New education methods and curriculum change were common project focus areas. Regional differences were evident with a higher percentage of education methods projects by Fellows residing in India (52%), compared with South Africa (25%) and Brazil (24%). Fifty-six percent of projects were incorporated into the curriculum and/or incorporated as institutional policy. One-third to two-thirds of respondents noted improved teaching quality, collaboration, education research interest, assessment, student performance, and curriculum alignment with community health needs.

Conclusion: National differences in project focus may offer insight into local conditions and needs. High rates of diffusion of projects and impact on faculty, students, and curriculum suggest that faculty development projects may be a strategy for institutional change in resource limited environments.

MeSH terms

  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Schools, Medical
  • Staff Development / methods*