Central Asia Medical Education Initiative

From 2004 to 2006, AIHA’s Central Asia Medical Education Initiative focused on curriculum and faculty development at the regional level. The overall goal of this multi-institutional partnership was to increase the capacity of medical institutions in Central Asia to produce high-quality graduates who were well prepared to meet the healthcare needs of their populations.

The University of South Florida was the lead institution in a consortium that included faculty from the University of Nevada at Reno and representatives of various U.S. organizations that oversee medical education, such as the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Foundation for International Medical Education and Research, Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Partners from Central Asia included these leading institutions providing undergraduate (or pre-service) medical education:

  • Kazakh State Medical Academy (Astana)
  • West Kazakhstan Medical Academy (Aktobe)
  • Kyrgyz State Medical Academy (Bishkek)
  • Osh State University Medical Department (Osh)
  • Tajikistan Medical Institute (Dushanbe)
  • First Tashkent State Medical Institute (Tashkent)
  • Second Tashkent State Medical Institute (Tashkent)

Specific objectives were to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of medical institutions in Central Asia, individually and regionally, to plan and implement educational reforms in priority areas;
  • Enhance knowledge and skills of faculty to design and implement a curriculum that meets regional standards and is appropriate to the healthcare needs of each country;
  • Develop capacity of medical institutions (including faculty and students) to conduct basic and applied research; and
  • Build awareness of and programs for student development issues.

Key Project Outcomes

  • This project resulted in the creation of several high-level peer networks that fostered greater cooperation, coordination, and knowledge sharing among the six partner institutions. This led to joint problem-solving and a more effective and cohesive response to relevant issues in medical education programs across the region.
  • The University of South Florida partners developed an interactive web-based survey on research needs and capabilities of medical schools in Central Asia. In the early months of the project, 15 medical schools participated in this survey and the Florida partners completed a preliminary evaluation of the results, which identified strengths and gaps in research capacity. Partners presented these during a grants workshop in September 2004.
  • Working closely with partners and other stakeholders, AIHA established a Coordinating Council for Research (CCR) to provide assistance with development of grant proposals, reviewing research projects, and helping to implement international bioethics standards in the region. The six-member council was comprised of representatives from all five countries in the region, including Turkmenistan.