March 19, 2010

Vanderbilt GME program serves as model for Singapore

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Vanderbilt’s Donald Brady, M.D., left, will travel to Singapore in May to conduct pre-accreditation site reviews of the institutions establishing new graduate medical education programs. (photo by Joe Howell)

Vanderbilt GME program serves as model for Singapore

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine's Office of Graduate Medical Education recently hosted dozens of physicians, CEOs and administrators from Singapore to assist them in their efforts to establish a system of graduate medical education (GME) similar to our own.

Several visiting groups toured Vanderbilt University Medical Center during the recent national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Annual Educational Conference in Nashville.

Donald Brady, M.D., associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, served as host and tour guide, and said the enormity of the project for the Asian country cannot be understated.

“Singapore is redesigning the entire way in which they train physicians in the various specialties and subspecialties. The opportunity for us to help guide them in this process, and influence how three different health care systems design their GME operations, is tremendous,” Brady said.

After reviewing graduate medical education systems in a variety of countries, the Singapore Ministry of Health chose to model their system after the United States because of its emphasis on curricular organization and competency-based training.

Currently in Singapore, graduate medical education training follows a more apprentice-like system similar to training in the United Kingdom and Australia.

“The visits were very comprehensive, including looking at Vanderbilt as an institution, examining our individual residency programs and touring our facilities. Two of the three institutions that visited already have talked with me about developing a more long-term relationship with Vanderbilt, based on our knowledge, experience, our openness and our collegiality,” Brady said.

Daniel Wong, M.D., director of the radiology program at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said preliminary planning has been under way for two years.

The visit to Vanderbilt represents the final step before the first phase for a Singapore GME program is put into action in May.

“There is a lot of work to do and we appreciate the opportunity to learn from Vanderbilt. This new system will have much greater structure than before, and we anticipate it may take until 2014 to get the balance of candidates from Singapore medical schools that will be needed for this new way of teaching,” Wong said.

Tan Tock Seng is a large hospital central to the island country, with more than 1,000 beds. Yet there are fewer doctors available to train in Singapore than in Nashville.

Amy Schindler, M.D., talks with representatives from Singapore who are studying Vanderbilt’s graduate medical education programs. (photo by Joe Howell)

Amy Schindler, M.D., talks with representatives from Singapore who are studying Vanderbilt’s graduate medical education programs. (photo by Joe Howell)

It is hoped this new system will help build existing programs and allow the Singapore medical community to share more easily with other countries that also have GME programs similar to the United States.

William Rodak, Ph.D., vice president for Accreditation Services at ACGME-International, said Singapore has been working closely with the ACGME to plan this massive change in their medical graduate training system. The effort to assist Singapore in adopting a United States-style GME program is unique, Rodak said.

“This is a pilot we have been working on since 2009. It is our first effort to develop international accreditation, currently limited to Singapore. The ACGME and I greatly appreciate the valued assistance of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in sharing their perspectives with our colleagues from Singapore,” Rodak said.

Brady has been selected by the ACGME to travel to Singapore in May to conduct a pre-accreditation site review to help assess the readiness of the three institutions to embark on this transformation.