Fostering African Medical Education Community of Excellence
The Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) consists of awards to 13 medical schools in 12 African countries for a period of five years to enhance the quantity and quality of education and research at those schools. It is the particular intent of MEPI to promote the retention of those new health professionals and researchers in the countries of their education.
The Medical Education Partnership Initiative Coordinating Center (MEPI-CC) at The George Washington University in conjunction with its African partner, the African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation in Kampala, Uganda, will serve as the coordinating arm of this initiative, carrying out quality assurance activities and helping to develop communications among MEPI grantees toward the end of building a strong and sustainable network of schools and carrying out quality assurance activities.
There are three principal areas on which the MEPI-CC will focus.
The simultaneous engagement of 13 African medical schools in programs of capacity development and quality improvement in education and research presents an extraordinary opportunity for community building. Members of this community can instruct and inspire one another by sharing perspectives, successes and problems. This community also stands to tell others in the health science school community in Africa and elsewhere about what they learn as a result of the MEPI program. It will be the job of the CC to construct a communications platform that will facilitate the needs of MEPI schools to talk to each other, to the CC, and to the US government project officers. In time, the communications program will move beyond business communications to incorporate developing technologies to enable collaborative work in education and research. A website, a newsletter, and a variety of communication vehicles will be part of the MEPI communications program when it is fully constructed.
The CC will work with each school to examine the needs for technical assistance for its programs in education and research. This will start with an initial evaluation which will suggest ways in which elements of the schools’ proposal might need clarification, modification, and/or support. The CC, in conjunction with NIH and HRSA, will work with each school to develop a technical assistance plan that will outline how identified needs may be addressed. It is expected that the designated partners of each MEPI grantee would be the principal sources of assistance when program consultations or interventions are needed.
All African MEPI award recipients have institutional and educational circumstances of their own and unique MEPI plans. The CC will be responsible for a baseline assessment of each MEPI school as well as its planned program of educational and research scale-up supported by the MEPI grant. This assessment will be both quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (site visits). Working from this baseline, the CC will construct an annual program of evaluation which will track the progress of each school toward the goals enumerated in the school’s grant plan. Over time the CC, in conjunction with each school, will be responsible for process, outcome, and impact evaluations. It is this collaborative work that will measure and report the efficacy of each school’s award and the overall MEPI strategy.