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The Consortium of Graduate Medical Schools in Australia: formal and informal collaboration in medical education

The Consortium of Graduate Medical Schools in Australia: formal and informal collaboration in medical education

Medical Education 34(6): 449-454

In 1996-97 three Australian medical schools adopted 4-year graduate medical courses. The schools formed a consortium to establish common admissions processes and to collaborate on curriculum and staff development. ADMISSIONS: Outcomes in admissions included the construction of an entry test and agreement on common application procedures. Structured interviews and measures of prior tertiary performance were adopted in each school with some local variations. Formal structures were put into place to manage the development of the test and admissions procedures. CURRICULUM AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT: No formal structures were put into place for curriculum and staff development. While the advantages of common approaches were recognised, it was accepted that it was also important to generate local ownership and commitment to the new courses. Outcomes of educational consortia should not be judged solely by the nature of joint ventures but by the way in which membership of the consortium changes the priorities and practices within the institutions. Examples of the operation of this principle within the three schools include: use of visiting experts to refine and modify approaches to problem-based learning; use of staff from partner institutions to facilitate implementation of the courses; sharing information technology expertise; cooperation in the construction of feedback mechanisms, and sharing advice on fulfilling accreditation requirements. The Consortium has had an important impact on Australian medical education. There is a need for further analysis of the two methods of operation of the consortium, formal and informal, and their relation to its overall functioning.

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Accession: 047556470

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PMID: 10792685

DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2000.00568.x

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