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FAIMER Experience Was an Epiphany for Award-Winning Educator

Whether you call them epiphanies or “aha moments,” Dr. Gang Xin experienced several of them, both as a FAIMER Fellow and later as a faculty member for the International FAIMER Institute and Regional Institutes in China. Dr. Xin is a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Associate Director of the Center for Faculty Development at Shantou University Medical College in Shantou, Guangdong Province, China.

Dr. Gang Xin

Name: Gang Xin, MD, PhD
Title: Professor, Microbiology and Immunology; Associate Director, Center for Faculty Development
Institution: Shantou University Medical College, China
FAIMER Fellow: China Medical University-FAIMER Regional Institute (CMU-FRI) 2015

She applied for a FAIMER fellowship with the China Medical University-FAIMER Regional Institute (CMU-FRI) in 2015 at the recommendation of a colleague at Shantou University, Dr. Zhongfang Zhang, a 2013 CMU-FRI Fellow. Dr. Xin hoped to learn more about medical education and faculty development from the experience, but what she gained was an entirely different perspective on teaching and learning.

Earlier this year, while participating as a faculty member with the Southern Medical University-FAIMER Regional Institute (SMU-FRI) based in Guangzhou, China, Dr. Xin met a second-year Fellow who reminded her of herself when she was in the program. The Fellow told Dr. Xin that FAIMER changed her perspective on education from focusing on teachers teaching to students learning.

“Education should focus on the students, not the teacher,” Dr. Xin said. “I think I’m just like her. I changed a lot. I changed to be a student-centered, outcomes-based educator and I’m committed to spreading these ideas to more educators,” Dr. Xin said.

One of the requirements of the fellowship is to develop an Education Innovation Project that is endorsed by the Fellow’s institution and becomes the focal point of the application of their learning in the program. Dr. Xin’s Education Innovation Project involved implementing a flipped classroom approach in a course that integrated microbiology, parasitology, pharmacology, pathology, and the study of infectious diseases into one curriculum. The goal of the project was to enhance the active learning in the course and improve the learning outcomes of the students.

“Actually, at that time, what I wanted was to complete the trial, but to my great surprise, within a two-year fellowship, I learned how to design medical research and how to implement and expand the project,” Dr. Xin said. “So, I published an associated article in a medical research journal, and this project was also applied to the education reform project of Guangdong Province and it was the only outstanding project that was concluded that year in my college so I’m very proud of this.”

Dr. Xin continues to be honored for her work as an educator. Earlier this year, she received the Best Teacher Award announced by the Department of Education of Guangdong Province.

“I always remember that the FAIMER Institute helps us to be change agents as medical educators,” Dr. Xin said. “I always try my best to be a change agent, to change my department and my university.

“It’s a great honor for me to be awarded the Best Teacher Award for Guangdong Province,” she added. “I think it’s like a confirmation for my previous work and inspiration for the future. The award encourages me to continue my dream to be a medical educator and to help more teachers.”

FAIMER offers fellowship programs for health professions educators through the online International FAIMER Institute and 11 FAIMER Regional Institutes in Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. 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.

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