International excellence in medical education award for University of Galway School of Medicine

Monday, 21 November 2022

University of Galway
The state-of-the-art facilities at the Clinical Simulation and Interprofessional Education Facility at University of Galway available for the education of more than 600 medical students in the clinical years and used for the training of more than 4,000 multi-professional clinical staff in Galway University Hospitals.

AMEE, an international association for health professions education, has awarded a team at University of Galway’s School of Medicine a prestigious ASPIRE to Excellence Award for their achievements in medical simulation education and research. 

The School of Medicine’s Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation (ICAPSS) is the first of its kind in Ireland to earn the accolade. 

The ICAPSS team is a collaborative group of researchers and academics from University of Galway and clinicians from the Saolta University Healthcare Group who provide hands-on medical education training in a simulated environment. The special facility where they work, train, educate and research was officially opened by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D. in March 2022.

The ASPIRE award identifies the School of Medicine as an international centre for excellence in medical education. 

Professor Ronald Harden, a leading international authority on Medical Education, and AMEE General Secretary, said: “The ASPIRE to Excellence programme has an important role to play at a time of rapid change in education, when the value of a university’s teaching as well as their contributions to research are recognised."

Dr Dara Byrne, Professor of Simulation Education at University of Galway and Director of Simulation for the Saolta University Healthcare Group and at the ICAPSS said: “This award is the first of its kind for a simulation facility in Ireland. It reflects our commitment to improving patient safety and the quality of care through our simulation activities that are translational and interprofessional, across the continuum of health professions education. 

“Applying for an ASPIRE award challenges medical education and training providers to benchmark themselves against what is considered exemplary. This requires learners, staff and other stakeholders to develop and demonstrate excellence in education. The collaborative process stimulates the School of Medicine’s focus on improving medical education.”

Dr Paul O’Connor, Senior Lecturer in General Practice at University of Galway and Research Director for the ICAPSS, said: “Patient safety and patient safety research are our priority. As we now are members of the ASPIRE academy, we can collaborate with other centres for excellence and continue to improve our simulation activities which support learners in the University and Saolta.”

The ASPIRE Award highlights medical schools which have demonstrated teaching excellence in one or more areas including assessment, curriculum development, faculty development, inspirational approaches to medical education, international collaborations, simulation, social accountability, student engagement and technology enhanced learning.

The collaboration between University of Galway and Saolta was particularly commended by the international expert assessment team. 

In their feedback on the award, the assessment team stated "The work of the ICAPSS team is impressive and we also applaud their achievements in a relatively short period. We also note the success of the collaboration between a university and a healthcare service partner. These relationships are not always productive, so the achievements are even more impressive. We recommend sharing this model so others may benefit too, acknowledging that contextual factors may also be unique. In summary, the number of personnel at ICAPSS, many with considerable experience and qualifications in relevant domains have created, implemented and evaluated a range education programs. The application reflects a well-developed organisational structure which functions effectively, serving both the sponsoring organisations.”

Ends

Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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