Medical educators working abroad: Who are they?

Michelle McLean, Ana Da Silva, Judy McKimm, Stella Claire Major

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch


Background: Medical education is an international activity. As students and educators travel across the globe to study and teach, both medical student populations and academic staff profiles are becoming increasingly multinational. Little is, however, known about medical educators who chose to work and live abroad.
Methods: Following a pilot study in the Middle East, an online survey was adapted for an international audience. In addition to demographic data, information was collected about international medical educators’ countries of birth, where they had studied, their work history as well as their roles and responsibilities as medical educators.
Results: The survey, completed by 89 participants (58% men), revealed a highly qualified, largely medical, multicultural workforce with a rich history of international study and work. Their ‘home’ country was often one adopted later in life, rather being where they were born. This may explain why many defined themselves as Westerners and global citizens rather than nationals of a single country. Europe and North America lost the most educators, with Australia and New Zealand gaining. Although many were in academia, their roles and responsibilities were diverse, revealing the multiple layers of their professional careers. Based on historical academic positions, there appears to be a trend of being a local teacher to being an international teacher of local or international students.
Conclusions: Medical educators are globally mobile, working across the world in academia and as consultants. Their studies and their work in different parts of the world make many of them global citizens for whom ‘home’ is a country different from where they were born.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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