Social responsibility and accountability in corporate and professional settings is increasingly recognized and many medical schools and professional colleges are now incorporating social responsibility teaching in their curriculum and training. This allows training of professionals to understand the issues facing the society in which they serve. Community health needs are seldom isolated to physical needs but encompass a myriad of social, legal and systemic factors and constraints and thus necessitates an interdisciplinary approach. Meanwhile, such interdisciplinary efforts require a more comprehensive and holistic approach. This proposal recognises the need for an integrated interdisciplinary teaching and learning approach to social responsibility.
An e-learning platform will be developed based on individual cases and their narratives. Such cases will focus on the vulnerable population and issues in the community e.g. elderly health care, poverty, caged home, domestic abuse, offender health, domestic maids, asylum seekers, new immigrant, cross border children. Such issues will include physical illnesses and risk, health status, health provision and access, social constraints, legal constraints etc. Learning outcomes of the cases can be general (e.g. for general education) in which classes can be interdisciplinary or discipline specific.
Many medical schools in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia have emphasized the role of social accountability. Medical schools can train professionals that are responsible for the needs of the community in which they serve to contribute to the sustainability of the health care system for the future. Therefore facilitating learning of Hong Kong medical students of social responsibility issues and Hong Kong’s unique health and social challenges would be beneficial for serving the community in their future.
The objectives of the project were to give students insight into:
- Vulnerable individuals and populations in Hong Kong
- The approach in assessing community needs
- Available services and approach to the evaluation of services
Activities, process and outcomes
The project consisted of blended learning, an eLearning platform and NGO attachments. Two compulsory health topics (Health Inequality and Health Need Analysis) and eight vulnerable populations’ topics (self-learning modules) were included.
Development of NGO attachments for the Year 5 medical students, from interactive talks to simulation programmes and service visits provided an ongoing learning for subsequent years. The eLearning platform and NGO attachments were integrated into the Year 5 Medical student’s Family Medicine attachment in the academic year 2018-2019. Students were divided into four groups of 56-58 students during their Year 5 medical school year.
Deliverables and evaluation
The eLearning platform was incorporated on the blackboard (MEDU4010 “Community and Family Medicine”). The features of the eLearning components include: Voice annotated introductory video on each topic, videos of client narratives or NGO worker interviews. Pre- and Post- quizzes, reflective discussion questions were also provided for students to evaluate their self-learning progress. Meanwhile, additional NGO and Government reports and relevant research papers were also summarized in the platform.
In addition, evaluations including Course Usage and Activity Metrics, Student Reflective Assignments and Projects, Student Course Evaluation Survey and Focus Groups were conducted.
Dissemination, diffusion, impact and sharing of good practices
A pilot learning project was conducted with 9 Bachelor of Nursing (BNurs) programme students (Interdisciplinary attachment). They were enrolled in the E-course and participated with the attachments with medical students. The project was also promoted to other non-health disciplines such as law students. Project supervisor also supervised 7 students in Bachelor or Master in public health programme to conduct research projects about social responsibility issues between 2017 and 2019, such as domestic helpers, cultural competence, and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, the social responsibility project will also be presented in AMEE 2019, which is one of the largest international medical education conference in August 2019.