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COMMUNIQUE – Bi-national Assessment Collaboration Workshop

By | Friday, April 17th, 2015
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15 April 2015

Over thirty medical assessment leaders representing 17 medical schools, the Australian Medical Council and the Commonwealth Department of Health met in Sydney today to discuss ways to further develop best practice in quality improvement in assessment in Australia and New Zealand.

At the meeting, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health through the former Health Workforce Australia and hosted by Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand (Medical Deans), discussions included:

The purpose of Assessment Collaborations. All participants agreed that the development of a large collaboration around assessment activity must fundamentally ‘value add’ to those activities already undertaken by individual bodies or small groups of bodies. Participants agreed that a binational collaboration should have the following attributes:

  • + Increase the overall assessment expertise and capacity in the 2 countries
  • + Bring efficiencies of scale and cost effectiveness
  • + Provide robust quality assurance and quality improvement processes
  • + Ultimately enable improvements in the standard of performance
  • + Provide evidence to internal and external stakeholders, including the public, that medical schools are performing well and producing quality graduates
  • + Promote innovation in assessment and support diversity and richness within individual medical schools
  • + Provide support for the development of good science in medical assessment
  • + Enable long term strategic planning in medical assessment
  • + Provide opportunities to address curriculum areas previously difficult to assess or poorly developed
  • + Promote the importance of the alignment of curriculum development with assessment processes and outcome
  • + Have a positive impact on local educational culture and change processes

What we have learnt from existing assessment collaborations. Participants heard from the leads of current collaborations including Australian Medical Schools Assessment Collaboration (AMSAC), Australian Collaboration for Clinical Assessment in Medicine (ACCLAiM), the IDEAL Collaboration and the Medical Deans Assessment Benchmarking project. A number of factors were identified as key to the success of these and any future ventures. These included:

  • + Flexible processes that can fit into local circumstances and processes
  • + Strong support and additional work at the local level
  • + Building trust and a spirit of collaboration across all participants
  • + Being very clear about the rules of engagement
  • + Having responsive leadership and local champions
  • + Setting realistic budgets
  • + Preparedness to ‘look behind the numbers’ and provide a realistic analysis

Participants agreed some caution was required around limited critical expertise across the two countries that could impact on the ability of all schools to take full advantage of the outcomes of such activities.

Presentation of the Results of the Medical Deans Assessment Benchmarking Project.  Dan Dumbrell, on behalf of Medical Deans, presented the results of the 12 month benchmarking project. 19 out of 20 universities with medical schools provided data for this analysis which included the performance of 3,994 medical students from the penultimate or final year of medical studies on an agreed set of 60 MCQs. A detailed analysis of the performance of the assessment items, the participating students and the participating schools was provided to participants using Rasch analysis. In the next few months participant schools will be provided with a de-identified report of their performance and the Steering Committee will wrap up this part of the project with a detailed review of the process and outcomes.

Panel discussion about the role of benchmarking clinical assessment vs written assessment.  Professor Lambert Schuwirth led the panel and large group discussion about the merits and challenges of benchmarking using different assessment modalities. There was strong support for calibration activities (of examiners and processes) for clinical assessment despite some debate about the definition and purpose of calibration. Participants noted the potential wider impact and perceived ‘legitimacy’ of clinical assessment benchmarking over written while also noting that the cultural impact of any benchmarking processes is generally positive.

New opportunities for benchmarking. Ian Frank, CEO of the Australian Medical Council, presented an exciting new benchmarking and collaboration opportunity for medical schools, through Medical Deans, utilising the AMC MCQ database and expertise.

Participants agreed to

  • + Establish the framework for a single binational assessment collaboration
  • + Commence this work through an expanded Assessment Working Group, Chaired by Professor Gary Rogers, under the umbrella of Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand
  • + Include in this initial framework the terms of engagement of the new collaboration and its host and members
  • + Through this working group examine potential quality improvement activities in the 3 areas of knowledge, skills and professional behavior
  • + Develop formal relationships, where necessary, across other bodies developing related initiatives including (but not exclusive) the AMC and its working groups, the Medical Board of Australia etc
  • + Acknowledge and support the ongoing work of existing and new collaborations during the development of a larger binational collaboration
  • + Host a repeat workshop in 12 months to review progress

Media contact:      Professor Judy Searle, CEO, Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand                  0498 138 035

Deans Congratulate outstanding medical researchers

By | Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
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2 April 2015

 Deans congratulate outstanding medical researchers

Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand (Medical Deans) congratulates the 116 inaugural Fellows admitted to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science (AAHMS) on Wednesday 25th March, 2015 in Canberra.

The Hon Sussan Ley, Minister for Health congratulated Fellows Professor Nicholas Fisk, Executive Dean of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at University of Queensland and Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of Sydney Medical School at University of Sydney and Professor Michael Kidd, Executive Dean Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, all members of Medical Deans at the award ceremony last week.

Professor Ian Frazer, President of the Academy, also thanked his foundation Council which includes Medical Dean’s member Professor Christina Mitchell, Executive Dean of Health at Monash University.

‘Establishment of the new Academy and its founding Fellows is an essential step toward making Australia the leading nation in medical research’, said the President of Medical Deans, Professor Peter Smith.

‘These are the best of the best medical researchers in Australia and will help deliver the medical break throughs we all hope for.’

Professor Smith said this initiative will also support the development of tomorrow’s medical research stars through a dedicated mentoring program for junior researchers and clinical scientists.

The Academy, through its Fellows and initiatives, will have strong links with Australian medical schools and universities that currently administer nearly 80% of the National Health and Medical Research Council grants.

With significant communities of clinical scientists medical schools are well placed to undertake translational research that takes key discoveries from the bench to the patient bedside.

Professor Smith said medical schools capacity to work with our doctor scientists in the hospitals and medical researchers in the University means medical research is always directed at what is best for the patient.

Professor Smith said building on these essential research collaborations between universities and health service providers in the public and private sector will improve our health system overall.

Medical Deans is made up of the Deans of Australia’s 18 university medical schools and the two New Zealand schools.

More information, President – Professor Peter Smith: 02 9385 2451 or  CEO – Professor Judy Searle 0498 138 035

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