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Storytellers


The Storytellers series brings the work of Intealth to life through the stories of the people we serve.

Serving the Community as a U.S. Trainee in Emergency Medicine

November 9, 2022

By Dr. E Chin Mak

I’m sitting in my residency library on a gloomy spring afternoon during my trauma surgery rotation. I stare out the window at the shedding cherry blossom trees, and I reflect on how the last ten months flew by. As I’m waiting for a trauma alert to be paged out, another chest tube, another bedside thoracotomy, I think back to where I was exactly one year ago today. I was packing up my bags in Ireland, prepared to move across the pond to a new country, ready for my first full-time clinical training experience and to start a new life. Little did I know how much I would learn in medicine, and in life…(read more)

Dr. E Chin Mak

Name: E Chin Mak, MD
Title: Emergency Medicine Resident
Institution: Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Ohio
J-1 Physician from Canada

“It’s really quite a broad range of things we see and do, and I think that’s what I really enjoy about emergency medicine…You end up getting a very broad scope of what medicine is actually like for the community.”

— Dr. E Chin Mak

 
 
International medical graduates account for about one quarter of all physicians in graduate medical education in the United States. Within that cohort there are more than 13,000 foreign national physicians, sponsored by ECFMG on the J-1 visa, providing critical health care services and cultural diversity in training hospitals across the United States. ECFMG is designated by the U.S. Department of State as the sole BridgeUSA sponsor for J-1 exchange visitor physicians enrolled in accredited programs of graduate medical education or training.
J1 Essential to US infographic
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Becoming the First Neurointensivist in My Country

September 8, 2022

By Dr. Toufic Chaaban

It was 2:00 AM at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport, moments before a long trip to the United States. I was drinking coffee and trying desperately to distract myself. At the time, I was 30 years old, recently engaged, and a fresh graduate in pulmonary and critical care. I was on my way to begin a U.S. graduate medical education program on a J-1 visa for subspecialty training in neurocritical care.

After enduring hard, emotional goodbye moments with loved ones, I did not engage in productive self-care. Instead of thinking positively as I was about to embark on my journey, I sat worrying about a number of things…(read more)

Dr. Toufic Chaaban

Name: Toufic Chaaban, MD
Title: Program Director, Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Institution: Lebanese American University, Beirut
Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program Alumnus: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (July 2018 – June 2020)

“Go back to your home country, make a difference, fill a gap, and feel the satisfaction of achieving something for your country.”

— Dr. Toufic Chaaban

 
 
International medical graduates account for about one quarter of all physicians in graduate medical education in the United States. Within that cohort there are more than 13,000 foreign national physicians, sponsored by ECFMG on the J-1 visa, providing critical health care services and cultural diversity in training hospitals across the United States. ECFMG is designated by the U.S. Department of State as the sole BridgeUSA sponsor for J-1 exchange visitor physicians enrolled in accredited programs of graduate medical education or training.
J1 Essential to US infographic
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FAIMER Fellow Becomes Medical Education Leader in India

August 3, 2022

Dr. Anshu always wanted to be a teacher, but her parents had another career in mind for her.

“I come from a family of teachers who know that teachers don’t necessarily live comfortable lives, so they encouraged me to join medicine,” Dr. Anshu said. “Once I finished my MD, it was natural for me to get into academics and begin teaching because it was something I love. So I was going to be a teacher after all, albeit a medical teacher.”

Dr. Anshu

Name: Anshu, MD, DNB, MNAMS, MHPE
Title: Professor
Institution: Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, India
FAIMER Fellow: CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute Fellow 2007, International FAIMER Institute 2009

An accomplished pathologist with a special interest in oncopathology, molecular genetics, and cytology, Dr. Anshu is a Professor at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) in Sevagram, India, and the coordinator of the Institute’s Medical Education Unit.

Dr. Anshu’s introduction to the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), a member of Intealth, was born from her unquenchable thirst for learning that defines her as an educator. She completed the National Teachers Training Course at Pondicherry, India, which she said provided her with the basics of medical education, but felt she needed more. She applied to the Christian Medical College Ludhiana-FAIMER Regional Institute (CMCL-FRI) in 2007 and was accepted, thus beginning a relationship with FAIMER that continues.

Through the CMCL-FRI fellowship, Dr. Anshu developed an education innovation project—the focal point for the application of learning in the Institute—on case-based learning in pathology. The project focused on teaching undergraduate MBBS students to make diagnoses using the minimal number of tests in consideration of the financial burden to patients. The initiative was a success and it is still part of the curriculum at MGIMS.

 
 

The CMCL-FRI fellowship also helped Dr. Anshu develop her leadership capabilities and delve into research and scholarship in medical education.

“At the end of the fellowship, I wrote my first paper in medical education, which is one of my most cited papers,” Dr. Anshu said. “It talked about how online faculty development can work, and we followed that up with the second paper, which talked about how to get group dynamics working in the online sessions. So that was the strength of the fellowship program, I would say, that we could actually make people chat and feel like it's a face-to-face session.”

For most, the challenges of one FAIMER Institute experience would be enough, but for Dr. Anshu, the CMCL-FRI fellowship just fueled a desire for more. She is one of a handful of FAIMER Fellows who have completed both a FAIMER Regional Institute and the flagship International FAIMER Institute in Philadelphia, which she was awarded in 2009. She was also awarded an International Fellowship in Medical Education through FAIMER, which helped her obtain a Master’s in Health Professions Education (MHPE) with distinction from Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Dr. Anshu currently is a global faculty member for the International FAIMER Institute and serves as faculty for all four FAIMER Regional Institutes in India including the CMCL-FRI, the Seth G.S. Medical College-FAIMER Regional Institute (GSMC-FRI) in Mumbai, the PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research-FAIMER Regional Institute (PSG-FRI) in Coimbatore, and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education-FAIMER Regional Institute (MAHE-FRI) in Manipal.

Dr. Anshu’s reputation as a medical educator goes far beyond the campus of MGIMS and her involvement with FAIMER Institutes. She served as a resource person for the advanced medical education workshops conducted each year by the Medical Education Department of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) in Pune, India, and was on the Board of Studies for Medical Education at MUHS. She also has written online modules for the National Medical Commission and the MHPE program run by the Centre for Medical Education in Context (CenMEDIC) and Keele University. In addition, she has been invited as a guest speaker and resource person for several international, national, and regional medical education conferences and workshops, and has more than 60 publications on pathology and medical education in indexed, peer-reviewed journals. She also edited a book along with Dr. Tejinder Singh, the founding Director of the CMCL-FRI, titled Principles of Assessment in Medical Education, which is now in its second edition. She served as the Secretary of the Academy of Health Professions Educators from 2017 to 2019.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when India’s medical schools had to abruptly pivot to an online education model, Dr. Anshu and several of her FAIMER Fellow alumni stepped to the forefront to lead the transformation.

“We conducted a series of webinars, which were well attended because people looked up to us to teach them how to teach, engage with students, and assess using online settings,” Dr. Anshu said. “We designed a lot of sessions, invited a lot of speakers, and we helped them that way.”

The icing on the cake came with her nomination as President of the Academy of Health Professions Educators for 2022. Dr. Anshu believes that role of the FAIMER family in mentoring her and grooming her with organization, teamwork, and leadership skills has been key to being catapulted from a small town in Central India to the center stage of health professions education in the country.

“I am very grateful to all of my teachers, mentors, colleagues, and friends for this remarkable journey through the last 15 years.”


The Storytellers series brings the work of Intealth to life through the stories of the people we serve. FAIMER offers fellowship programs for health professions educators through the online International FAIMER Institute and 9 FAIMER Regional Institutes in Chile, China, Egypt, India, and Indonesia. Health professions educators who complete one of these Institutes are skilled in implementing curricular improvements at their home institutions and become outstanding local and national resources and leaders for improving health professions education. FAIMER Fellows form an international network of more than 2,000 health professions educators representing nearly 60 countries with the ultimate goal of improving world health.
FAIMER Fellows infographic
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[Last update: February 14, 2023]

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