India, home to one of the oldest medicinal systems in the world has made remarkable progress in medical education in the recent past. As the world is evolving to meet the ever-changing needs, medical education in India is moving forward with the objective of enabling every medical graduate and postgraduate to be the best in the world. Several changes are being made for graduates from Indian schools to be at par and for easy mobilization around the world, with the goal of making India the medical education hub for the world.
In this context, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), which has been leading efforts to help streamline medical education in India to meet the global standards, assembled a galaxy of medical regulatory organization leaders from India, the United Kingdom and the United States during the 17th annual Global Healthcare Summit in New Delhi, India on January 2, 2024.
Leaders of National Board of Examination in Medical Science (NBEMS) India, National Board of Examination in Medical Science (NBME) USA, and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) were among the panelists that discussed and educated the aspiring medical students from some of the premium Medical Schools in India who had keenly participated at the panel discussion.
Dr. Lokesh Edara, BOT-Chair Elect and Dr. Sumul N. Raval, current Secretary of AAPI led and coordinated the initiative. During a prior meeting with AAPI leaders last year, they had invited AAPI leaders and those from other US regulatory bodies at the meeting to visit his office in New Delhi during their current visit to India. AAPI leaders invited the leadership of these regulatory groups to the AAPI annual convention in Philadelphia in July 2023 and to the AAPI Global Healthcare Summit meeting in New Delhi in January 2024.
Describing the initiative as “a historic mile stone and a testament to the commitment of AAPI towards Global Medical Education,” Dr. Lokesh Edara said, “AAPI is providing amazing opportunity to connect the medical education and licensing boards of USA (NBME, FSMB) and from India (NMC, NBEMS, AIIMS) to learn from one other’s experiences, sharing vital insights and collaboration on future endeavors, mutual exchange of ideas, sharing of best practices that are critical for advancing medical education and enhancing examination process, assuring high standards for protecting public health will positively shape the medical education.”
AAPI Global Medical Education has led this effort taking the delegation to the Indian National Board of Examinations in medical science NBEMS (nbe.edu.in) which conducts examination for the 1.8 million students and UG entrance examination across India and conduct the PG NNET entrance examination for 200,000 students annually. AAPI has been able to connect their visits to the National Medical Commission (NMC – nmc.org.in) that monitors ll700+ medical collges,100,000 MBBS admisisions,60,000 post graduate admissions and their education. During panel discussions lasting more than 3 hours of their experiences and their challenges.
The Indian delegation consisted of Dr. B.N. Gangadhar, Chairman, National Medical Commission; Dr. Aruna V. Vanikar, President, Undergraduate Medical Education Board, Dr Vijay Oza, President, Postgraduate Medical Education Board.
NBEMS (INDIA) was represented by Dr Abhijat Sheth, President of NBEMS, Dr Minu Bajpai, Executive Director of NBEMS; Dr Rakesh Sharma, member Director of NBEMS. NBEMS India also has more than 14000 PG seats in many specialties.
FSMB delegates included: Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, President CEO of FSMB, Dr Jeffery Crater, Chair Board of directors FSMB, Kate Lynn Templeton, Chair-Elect Board of directors FSMB, and Dr Sarvam Terkonda, past Chair Board of directors FSMB.
NBME had the following members at the Panel: Dr. Peter Katsufrakis President CEO of FSMB and Dr. Reena Karani, Chair Board of directors NBME (USA).
Jeffrey D. Carter, MD (Missouri) Chair of the FSMB is a distinguished medical professional, and was elected to the FSMB Board of Directors in 2017. Dr. Sarvam TerKonda (Past Chair, FSMB USA) is a highly regarded plastic surgeon based in Jacksonville, Florida.
Ms. Katie Templeton JD (Chair-elect, FSMB,USA), and Prof. Hasmukh Shah, Recruitment and Training in UK were some of the others from the Medical education field, who were part of the distinguished panelists.
Dr. Sheth presented the NBEMS mission and PG NEET examination, FMGE examination and more than 50 specialties for postgraduate and super specialties courses they are conducting and graduating. Dr. Katsufrakis provided an update on the NBME history and current examination-system.
Se, Edara urged Dr. Sheth to increase family medicine PG seats and nationalized formative assessment tests in theory part for all postgraduates and for post-graduate exit theory examination suggested computerized online test. Nationwide E-Learning systems for higher transfer of Knowledge in medical education.
Dr. Raval said, “In order for us to meet the unprecedented demand and to bring up the quality of education, the Indian medical education system is changing rapidly. The meeting today was a great beginning to facilitate collaborative efforts between India and the United States.”
Medical education has many challenges in the transfer of knowledge and quality. India is introducing the NEXT examination, which is the licensing examination similar to USML in the US, while the UKMLE is starting in the UK in 2024 in the place of PLAB examination. NMC has applied for WFME Recognition status, which is mandatory to apply for USMLE examination.
NBEMS is responsible for NEET PG Entrance Test, which is taken up by more than 200,000 students annually. 694 Medical schools in India with106,083 MBBs admissions per year selected from 2.1 million applicants through the UG NEET examination across India in 3 hours. The current government policy has been to have one medical college in every district to meet the growing needs of India,
FSMB federation of state medical boards leadership (fsmb.org) and NBME National board of examination USA (nbme.org) leadership is visiting India for the first time in 30 years.
“Overview National Board of Examinations” was the main theme discussed during the meeting. AAPI hopes the excellence gained through long term vision, insight and hard work with both organizations and exchange of ideas and challenges will benefit the medical education system in India and help tens of thousands of medical graduates coming from India to have recognition in the US.
Expressing appreciation for Dr. Edara and Dr. Raval for taking the lead in facilitating interaction and dialogue between the Medical Education Boards of India and the United States, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President of AAPI said, “Since its inception over four decades ago, AAPI has been in the forefront advocating for medical school education reform and for the medical graduates from India to be treated on par with their counterparts in India. India is already leading the global pharmaceutical industry, and rebooting medical education will help India enter the league of leaders in healthcare around the world. The meeting today was a great start, and I look forward to AAPI continuing to lead such efforts in the coming years benefitting the medical fraternity.” For more information on AAPI and its many initiatives, please visit: www.aapiusa.org