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December 2021, Volume 71, Issue 12


The 5th International Conference On Medical Education - Virtual (April 5th, 2021)

Authors: Ali Mansoor Al Ameri  ( Vice Dean College of Medicine University of Kerbala, Iraq. )

Message from the Conference Head


It is our pleasure to welcome you to the 5th international Conference on Medical Education at University of Kerbala College of Medicine, Iraq. Our gratitude to speakers, authors, committee members and colleagues is extended for their continued support. Their work and dedication have significantly contributed to the Conference success.




Karbala is a holy city for Muslims, in which the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hussain, sacrificed himself, his sons, his brothers, his friends, and his family was taken captive in order to shake the pillars of injustice so that man would remain free as Allah almighty created him.

We are privileged to be living in Kerbala and providing medical education  which has undergone a substantial progress in the last few decades. Medical curriculum is the back bone element of the medical education. University of Kerbala, College of Medicine has upgraded its medical curriculum into a new integrated, competency-based, student-centered curriculum. The three principles which determine the philosophy of our curriculum are:

  • Principle of Integration
  • Principle of Collaboration
  • Principle of Relevance



Our curriculum takes into consideration the implication of educational philosophy of Outcome based education which is a paradigm shift from content based curriculum to outcome/competency based one, and a shift from teaching to learning paradigm.

The curriculum designed to assure fulfillment of the high-level intended learning outcomes and to help students mature as individuals and professionals ready to assume personal responsibility for their actions and decisions and lifelong learning making the care of patients their central concern and providing health service through interprofessional approach.

Outcome-based education focuses on the end-product and defines what the learner is accountable for. Learning outcomes will determine what is taught and assessed and can help to identify what is and is not essential. Having a clear idea of the desired outcomes does not necessarily have to be restricting as the methods of achieving the outcomes are still flexible.

We adopted the Dreyfus Model which is a developmental construct of skill acquisition using five stages, from novice to expert, with each step building on the previous. A novice is rule-based but context-free; an advanced beginner  takes into account situational aspects; someone who is competent is able to  devise a plan and decide what is important; someone who is proficient uses intuitive behaviour in  place of reasoned process; and an expert routinely makes subtle discriminations and immediate intuitive responses.


Curriculum Overview


College of Medicine, University of Kerbala provides a curriculum that is six years in length and culminates in M.B.Ch.B degree.

The curricular content taught in the new integrated curriculum (IC) is similar to the previous curriculum (2004-2013); however, the way in which it is taught has changed. Instead of being divided into a number of courses based in and administered by the academic departments, the IC is now divided into a number of interdisciplinary "blocks." Each block is organized according to body or organ systems and planned and taught in a coordinated fashion by faculty from a number of basic science and clinical academic departments. As an example, students in the previous curriculum were taught about the normal structure of the body in three different anatomy courses and the normal function of the human body in the physiology and biochemistry courses.

Students in the IC are now taught about the different body systems pre-clerkship years presents in an integrated fashion the relevant anatomy, biochemistry and physiology. Meanwhile, presents the major diseases processes (pathology and pathophysiology) and therapeutic options (pharmacology, pathophysiology, medicine, surgery). The clerkships in Years 4, 5 and 6 are now discipline-based, similar to the previous curriculum, but there are some modifications.

This curriculum uniquely prepares students by integrating basic and clinical science throughout all years of medical education, by providing students with educational tool and opportunity like small group sessions, a team approach and self-directed learning to prepare graduates for the rigors and realities of medicine today.

Students leave with critical thinking skills, communication tools and flexible attitudes needed to pursue careers of leadership and excellence in all areas of medicine.

The learning style adopted here is Problem-based learning (PBL). The body systems are represented as blocks or units each of several weeks duration. Each week addresses specific case scenario relevant to that system. During each week the education process starts with PBL session I. During this session you need to nominate a group leader and a scribe, discuss patient scenario (Problem), identify what you already know and what you need to know, agree on learning needs (objectives) and divide tasks between group members.

Following the first session you are encouraged to search for knowledge related to the problem using electronic and paper based resources, peers and faculty.

Various resource sessions, practicals, and clinical skills training will be conducted during the week. "PBL session II" will be conducted at the end of the week to discuss what you have learned, show and discuss your concept map, do the group presentation, give feedback to your peers and facilitator regarding the week's activities and cross check your achievement with the week's and unit objectives. The "review session" each week before the new problem will give you very valuable opportunity to meet your subject matter experts and bridge any gap in your knowledge related to the previous week.

Self-reflection and feedback on all educational activities is fundamental to continuous improvement in our curriculum. For each of you, goal setting and self-reflection every week will assist you in achieving success. "This should be part of" your highly organized and maintained educational portfolio, which is part of students' summative assessment.


Assessment and evaluation


College of Medicine, University of Kerbala relies on standardized setting and up-to-date scientific psychometrics in its assessment system. Formative and summative tests are evenly encountered during the curriculum. Solid feedback system is followed to follow and improve the curriculum and assessment system.


The 5th International Conference on Medical Education


This conference is unique as it addresses different areas of "basic" and "clinical" medical education fields. In addition, the conference tried to evaluate the assessment system in Iraqi medical schools and recommended the creation of Iraqi General Medical Council (IGMC) to supervise and steer the Iraqi Medical License Exam (IMLE).




1.       University of Kerbala, College of Medicine. Undergraduate Curriculum. [Online] 2021 [Cited 2021 December 15]. Available from URL:

2.       University of Sharjah, College of Medicine. Undergraduate Curriculum. [Online] 2021 [Cited 2021 December 15]. Available from URL:

3.       Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Toolbox of assessment methods. [Online] 2021 [Cited 2021 December 15]. Available from URL:

4.       Leach DC. Evaluation of competency: an ACGME perspective. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2000;79:487-9. doi: 10.1097/00002060-200009000- 00020.

5.       Green ML, Holmboe E. Perspective: the ACGME toolbox: half empty or half full? Acad Med 2010;85:787-90. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181d737a6.

6.       The Scottish Doctor. DOE. [Online] 2021 [Cited 2021 December 15]. Available from URL:

7.       Dreyfus HL. A phenomenology of skill acquisition as the basis for a Merleau-Pontian nonrepresentational cognitive science. [Online] 2002 [Cited 2021 December 15]. Available from URL: enology%20of%20skill%20acquisition%20as%20the%20basis%2 0 f o r % 2 0 a % 2 0 M e r l e a u - Pontian%20nonrepresentational%20cognitive%20science+auth or%3ADreyfus

8.       Daley BJ. Novice to expert: An exploration of how professionals learn. Adult Educ Q 1999;49:133-47.

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association has agreed to receive and publish manuscripts in accordance with the principles of the following committees: