‘Stronger relationships within and across regions based on respective contexts and cultures are essential.’

Professor Ricardo-Leon Bórquez, President of the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) said in his keynote address at the Asian Accreditation Agencies Forum in Chiang Mai, Thailand on January 11, 2023.

He stressed further that quality does not have one definition and that each region tends to understand its own contexts and cultures better. Thus, this Forum could be influential to the region and possibly serve as a model for other regions to follow.

Initiated by Thailand’s Institute for Medical Education Accreditation (IMEAc), this Forum was the first of its kind, well attended by key senior leaders from WFME-recognized agencies, namely Korean Institute of Medical Education and Evaluation (KIMEE), Japan Accreditation Council for Medical Education (JACME), Indonesian Accreditation Agency for Higher Education in Health (IAAHEH), Taiwan Medical Accreditation Council (TMAC), Institute for Medical Education Accreditation (IMEAc). Vietnam (University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City) sent its representatives to attend the event as well. Several executives from Thailand’s professional associations were also present as observers.

From the two-day sessions, it was evident that all showed committed continuous efforts to ensure that the accreditation process has incorporated not only key issues needed for medical education, but also voices from stakeholders, using such techniques as surveys and additional visits as seen appropriate in their specific situations.

The Forum also shared their accreditation practices based on self assessment/evaluation of their respective medical schools. Some crucial areas of focus were ongoing consideration for the criteria to meet with local and global standards, governance, judgment decision process, assessor training, and non-MD recruitment.

IMEAc’s innovative approach on Assessor Competence Standards Framework (ASF) to enhance quality of its assessors has received close attention. Its Director, Professor Pongsak Wannakrairot pointed out that the ASF focuses on three important components of quality assessors, i.e. knowledge, practices, and values, serving as foundation for creating four development levels, namely potential, professional, lead, and expert assessors. More elements will be added and tried out soon.

Moreover, the participants learned from Professor Bórquez about his perspective on regional and global collaboration. They were hopeful that this initiative could represent the efforts of Asian region In accreditation and to to act as another channel to collectively strengthen quality of the process and medical education as a whole.

The Forum ended successfully with wealth of knowledge along with issues for accreditation agencies to bring back for further discussions. It is optimistic that this will soon lead to form a sharing network for excellence in medical education, and that it could soon contribute to both intra-and inter-regional growth.

Considering the benefits of continuous sharing, Taiwan has kindly agreed to host the next Forum in 2024.