Faculty development for foreign teachers of family medicine

Fam Med. 1997 Jun;29(6):435-8.


Background: The development of family medicine in Latin America is inhibited by limited resources. Successful strategies to promote the specialty include academic exchanges between countries. Short-term faculty development opportunities are needed for foreign academic family physicians.

Methods: After 2 years of unstructured visits by Latin American physicians planning to teach family medicine, we designed a faculty development course, in Spanish, that continues to evolve through constructive feedback. This includes workshops in project planning, computer training, clinical decision making, family systems, clinical teaching, problem-based learning, and clinical epidemiology. Each fellow designs a project to be implemented subsequently in the country of origin.

Results: Since 1991, we have trained 37 physicians from nine Latin American countries, 27 since 1993 in the structured course. A full schedule encourages fellow to complete course objectives within 8 weeks. All participating physicians have rated highly the course content and quality. Twenty-five of the 27 course participants are or will soon begin teaching in family practice residency programs in their home countries.

Conclusions: This faculty development course for Latin American physicians is perceived as an effective way to enhance academic skills. Ongoing evaluation will show how the fellowship impacts the physicians' teaching effectiveness and the development of family medicine in their countries.

MeSH terms

  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Latin America
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation