International Relations


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UMass Amherst- Afghanistan Higher Education Project: Medical Education

Collaboration between the UMass Amherst Center for International Education and the UMass Amherst Institute for Global Health (IGH) has resulted in a $5.4 million project funded by USAID to improve the quality of medical education and establish the first School of Public Health in Afghanistan.  The Higher Education Project - Medical Education (HEP-ME) was initiated in July 2009. Other project partners include the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Indiana University and the Academy for Educational Development.
The HEP-ME project has six major components: (1) creating a new MPH degree program; (2) revising existing public health courses in the undergraduate medical education program; (3) improving clinical rotations for medical students; (4) building capacity in English as a second language; (5) building capacity in information technologies, and (6) institutional development. 
In this project, the IGH has two major deliverables.  Kabul Medical University (KMU) recently completed a curriculum revision process resulting in the addition of seven new public health courses for all medical students in Afghanistan. As in many countries, Afghani students go straight from secondary school into a six-year medical degree program at age 18.  Although the new curriculum exists on paper, much work remains.  The team is working to help revise the seven undergraduate public health courses in time for the new semester in March 2010. This includes running short courses in Kabul to build faculty capacity to teach the classes,
The second major product is the design of a new, two-year, post-graduate Master of Public Health degree program.  The new Chancellor at KMU has initiated an ambitious plan to re-organize the medical university along Western lines, with a School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Dentistry, and a new School of Public Health.  He has appointed eight faculty members to serve as the core of the new public health program.  Within an eighteen-month time frame, the goal is to design the new two-year post-graduate degree program, shepherd its approval through the Ministry of Higher Education, and conduct sufficient faculty development in time to implement the new degree program January 2011.