Latin America Grants Program Advances Assessment with Partner Institutions

Posted December 31, 2020

While NBME calls Philadelphia home, it strives to enhance the quality of assessment in health professionals’ education around the world. The Latin America Grants Program, established in 2018, is an essential part of this effort. Medical professionals and schools are empowered by projects funded by the program that build local capacity to evaluate key learning outcomes and improve program quality.

Since its inception, the program has helped fund innovative projects at various medical schools throughout Latin America with grants of up to $50,000 distributed over a two-year period.

“NBME continues to see value in supporting medical education initiatives and research on a global scale,” Stephanie R. McWhite, Program Administrator, said. “Programs like Latin America Grants provide information, knowledge and resources to those outside of the U.S.”

To encourage the development of projects that envision bold, collaborative educational improvements, submitted proposals are required to include at least two or more medical schools. This helps develop a consortium of health professions schools that will work together to advance assessment in their regions for years to come. For the 2020 cycle, nearly 20 applications were submitted to the program.

“Projects stand out that bring a new and important perspective to assessment,” Brownie Anderson, Vice President of Medical Education Global Initiatives, said. Anderson first conceptualized and proposed the program based on the success of NBME’s Centennial Awards, a 2015 program that first awarded grants to schools in Latin America in celebration of NBME’s 100th anniversary. These one-time awards served as the idea for the Latin America Grants Program to continue supporting assessment research and faculty development.

This year’s cycle features funded projects that address issues essential to assessment of health professionals’ education. These include the following:

  • Professional Competence Assessment in Health Professions Education: The Next Steps
    • Principal InvestigatorMariana Kiomy Osako, PhD
    • Medical Schools – University of São Paulo – Ribeirão Preto Medical School (Brazil), Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (Brazil), Faculty of Medicine of São José do Rio Preto (Brazil)
  • Implementation of a National Network for Practices and Research Using the Progress Test
    • Principal InvestigatorPedro Tadao Hamamoto Filho, MD, PhD
    • Medical Schools/Organizations – São Paulo State University – Botucatu Faculty of Medicine (Brazil), University of Campinas (Brazil), Brazilian Association for Medical Education
  • Professional Identity and Professionalism Assessment in Three Medical Schools in Latin America
    • Principal InvestigatorSilvia Lizett Olivares Olivares, PhD
    • Medical Schools – Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (Mexico), University of Los Andes (Colombia), Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (Chile)

As this cycle’s projects are underway, McWhite cannot wait to see the positive change that they’ll bring about.

“To collaborate with researchers at different institutions adds so much value to the program,” McWhite said. “The funding benefits not just a specific institution or faculty but the greater good for medical educators.”

With all of the diverse ideas that the Latin America Grant Program has already helped bring to life, Anderson looks forward to a bright future for this important international initiative.

“NBME has had a real collaboration with these institutions,” Anderson said. “We’ve learned a tremendous amount because of the commitment of and work accomplished by the grantees. It’s made a true impact on many people.”

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