Academic Medicine Supplement Issue Dedicated to Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI)

The August 2014 issue of Academic Medicine will be accompanied by a supplement dedicated to the work of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) titled: “The Medical Education Partnership Initiative: Investing in Medical Education in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Academic Medicine is the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. This supplement speaks to special circumstances of medical education in Africa addressing many crosscutting topical, global themes in medical education.

Fitzhugh Mullan and Associate Research Professor Seble Frehywot partnered with Dr. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) in Uganda, on this grant.

It includes 33 articles with 225 authors from all 13 MEPI sponsored medical schools and many MEPI partner institutions. Articles discuss education and research innovations at all of the schools and five MEPI technical working groups engaged in collaborative projects in areas such as eLearning and community-based education. The supplement also contains commentaries on MEPI and African medical education by global experts including Jim Yong Kim and Timothy G. Evans, president and director, Health, Nutrition, and Population, respectively, of the World Bank, and by Eric Goosby, former ambassador-at-large and U.S. global AIDS coordinator. Medical students from Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia have also authored an essay about their perspective on the future of medical education in Africa.

Access it online on July 30, 2014 after 6pm Eastern at

About MEPI
Sub-Saharan Africa suffers 25 percent of the global burden of disease but has only three percent of the world’s health care workers. This continental problem is not news to Africans but recent reports from the World Health Organization and others have brought this challenge to global attention. In 2010, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) launched MEPI in an effort to help address this crisis in regard to medicine. MEPI is funding 13 medical schools in 12 African countries to improve the quantity, quality, and retention of their graduates in order to help strengthen health systems in those countries. MEPI also funded a Coordinating Center at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, and at the Uganda-based NGO, the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), to assist the network of schools with collaborative projects and communications. MEPI is funded by PEPFAR through the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator in the State Department and by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The initiative is administered by the NIH Fogarty International Center and the Health Workforce Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The MEPI program has been built around five core themes:

  1. Capacity development: enhancing the quality and quantity of medical education in funded schools and in their respective countries.
  2. Retention: working to retain graduates and faculty in-country and to improve the distribution of medical doctors in underserved areas of all countries.
  3. Regionally relevant research: enhancing research training to augment national research capacity and for faculty development and retention.
  4. Communities of practice: strengthening partnerships around common areas of interest in medical education.
  5. Sustainability: working to ensure the durability of MEPI accomplishments and the continued investment in medical education and health workforce scale-up.

Within these themes, MEPI schools have engaged in a diverse range of educational innovations and research enhancements including community-based education, eLearning, residency program development, and research training. To facilitate cross-cutting work in areas of common interest, the MEPI schools formed the MEPI network which fosters formal and informal partnerships with other medical schools; an additional 25 schools in Africa, 20 in the United States and two in the United Kingdom are active participants in the MEPI network. Academic Medicine’s MEPI supplement highlights the results to date of these efforts. Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy Fitzhugh Mullan and Associate Research Professor Seble Frehywot partnered with Dr. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) in Uganda, on this grant.

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