On being an international medical educator

Michelle McLean*, Stella Major, Judy McKimm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Harden’s (2006) article on the internationalisation of medical education set out a compelling vision of “transnational” medical education. A typical scenario would therefore be an international teacher with a class of international students, an international curriculum and institutional collaboration across national boundaries. In today’s shrinking global world of travel and communication, such a scenario is probably not as uncommon as one might imagine. Not only are many medical students choosing to study abroad, but increasingly, academics are taking up positions outside their home country. One factor fuelling this academic ‘internationalisation’ is the offshoring of private medical schools and teaching hospitals (Merritt et al. 2008), particularly in emerging economies. The Middle East is a good example, with Saudi Arabia (e.g. Batterjee College), Qatar (e.g. Weill Cornell University), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (e.g. Harvard Medical College) and Bahrain (e.g. Royal College of Surgeons (Ireland) Medical University) all having at least one private medical school in addition to one or more state-funded institutions. While the Harvard Medical College in Dubai (UAE) is under the auspices of Harvard International, others may be administered from non-Western countries. In the UAE, over the past 5-6 years, in addition to the federal medical school (UAE University) which caters for the needs of local (Emirati) students, at least five other medical colleges have been established, with more to follow, many being the initiatives of local sheiks. The most recent proposal is for a medical college in Abu Dhabi administered by Manipal University, India, which already has campuses in Malaysia, Nepal and Malacca. Faculty members of private medical schools originate from all corners of the globe, which is often used as a selling point for potential students, who too are largely international. A good example is the Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) Medical College, which proudly states on its website that students originate from 40 countries and staff from 22 countries. This chapter has been written by three medical educators who have worked away from their home countries for several years. All of the authors have spent time in the Middle East, two (MM and SM) for extended periods.. Spurred by their interest in the factors that influence academics to take up employment abroad, they describe some of the findings of a study conducted in the Middle East, in which they canvassed their colleagues’ perspectives of the trials and tribulations of being “international” medical educators in a context that was for most far removed from “home”. The authors also share their individual cultural journeys as medical educators working abroad (Table 1).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Education: Global Perspectives, Challenges and Future Directions
EditorsA P Giardino, E R Giardino
Place of PublicationUntied States
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781626186392
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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