Developing Medical Education Capacity in Russia: Twenty Years of Experience
The partnership between Yale University (USA) and Kazan State Medical University (KSMU, Russia) was established in 1996 and transitioned to Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN)/University of Vermont Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine (USA) in 2012 with the goal of modernizing medical education at KSMU primarily through introduction of the American medical education structure, role modeling, and educational capacity building. It was centered on the formation of a select group of Russian junior faculty members familiar with American medical education who would then initiate a gradual change in medical education at KSMU. Here we describe the 20 year partnership, rooted in local capacity building, through which a sustainable, mutually rewarding international collaboration was established. In addition, we evaluate the program’s outcomes and impact on medical education at Kazan State Medical University, and assess its influence on Russian program participants.
Senior residents and faculty were sent to KSMU to conduct teaching sessions with local faculty and trainees. Their responsibilities included familiarizing Russian colleagues with specific topics in clinical medicine, importing knowledge about the basics of teaching, clinical epidemiology and evidence based medicine, and creating, in consistency with the American model, a “Clinical Teaching Team Structure” that integrates patient care with clinical education. Furthermore, 44 of selected KSMU members, including 13 junior faculty (29.5%), 14 clinical PhD students (31.8%), 12 interns/residents (27.3%), and five medical students (11.4%), were trained at Yale/WCHN or one of their major affiliated community hospitals for a period of 1 to 12 months for a total of 844 participant-weeks of training.
Thirty (68.2%) individuals who were trained in the U.S. are currently working in Kazan primarily as faculty at KSMU. Among them, three trainees (10%) have become heads of their department, eight (26.7%) hold senior faculty positions, and two (6.7%) have clinical and educational administrative leadership positions. Two major clinical departments have adopted the “Clinical Teaching Team Structure.” As a result of the collaboration, three teaching courses – Evidence-Based Medicine, Tropical Medicine, and HIV/AIDS Medicine – have been designed and incorporated into the curriculum.
This partnership has been instrumental in introducing the American medical education model and expanding the medical knowledge of faculty, residents, and students of KSMU on infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, tropical medicine, renal diseases, and global health topics. Capacity building through the Yale/WCHN-KSMU exchange program has greatly contributed to the quality of medical education at Kazan State Medical University.