It is the Medical Education Congress of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon organized by the Pedagogical Council of FMUL, in partnership with the Department of Medical Education (FMUL) and the AEFML (Students’ Association of the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon).
For seven editions, Beyond MEd has been held to stimulate the debate about teaching and the plurality of new skills of medical students, promoting the exchange of experiences to the world.
The year 2020 marked, in a very unlikely way, the various events that took place, forcing the readjustment of agendas and actions and, above all, of attitudes and personal perspectives.
Beyond MEd has always brought together the most diverse guests and speakers at the Faculty of Medicine, bringing cultures and visions together in one place for a few days of great excitement. With the pandemic, the space for debate was also readjusted.
Whereas last November, the month when another edition was held, we wanted to have the testimonial of the student group involved in this joint project, this month we listened to the other side, the side that completes the former so that, together, the project works even better.
Beyond MEd coordinator, Professor Rui Tato Marinho said that, “like other years, the Organizing Committee had the philosophy of integrating the lecturers and students in partnership in equal terms”, focusing on “the key topic, previously decided before the declaration of Pandemic by the WHO, ‘soft skills’ or “transversal competences".
Once the decision to maintain the same programme, "now in this ‘compulsory’ and ‘dictatorial’ Zoom" mode was made, the topics were attractive: how to deal with a pandemic, its impact on medical education, the balance between personal and professional life, problem-based learning, empathy and professionalism, disinformation, train the trainers, National Access Exam, online assessment, scientific illustration, optional teaching, leadership, etc.”.
Rui Tato Marinho also states “that Beyond MEd was able to be affirmed beyond our Medical School, since it involved professors from other national Medical Schools (Porto and Minho) and from foreign countries such as the US, Brazil, United Kingdom, Scotland, and the United Arab Emirates."
Due to the state of national emergency, the Medical Education Congress of our faculty took place on an electronic platform, “in the so-called cloud”. "Nevertheless, it was possible to hold an excellent meeting, perhaps the most successful ever in terms of the objective of disseminating modern medical pedagogy", reveals Professor Rui Tato Marinho.
In retrospect, the general coordinator of the event believes that “it was good to stop to think!”. He also considers that "times are not difficult, they are “different", emphasizing that this "is also a moment of opportunity, for innovating, for abandoning some less efficient ideas and projects".
The Director of the Department of Medical Education at FMUL, Isabel Pavão Martins, recalls with obvious esteem an event that “was born within the Pedagogical Council of this School 7 years ago, largely on the initiative of the students who then made up that Council.” “At the time, it was intended to create an institutional event that would draw attention to the importance of Medical Education, to its specific methods and processes and that would encourage Faculty Lecturers and Students to dedicate themselves to this area of Academic Medicine. It was then called PEM Day, Pedagogy and Medical Education Day”, recalls the Professor.
For Isabel Pavão Martins, “the event was a success and has been repeated in annual editions, always innovative, always of great quality and with an increasing number of participants”, stressing that the virtual format of this year “did not harm its impact, having even had a greater number of speakers of recognized Portuguese and foreign merit, which increased its visibility”.
The Professor also highlighted that, “the organization of this event has been an interesting process and the result of a coordinated effort between the Pedagogical Council, the Students' Association and the DEM”, reiterating that “the topics are proposed by both students and lecturers, giving opportunity to address the issues that everyone considers most pressing”.
“In addition to the main lectures, the event includes small workshops that stimulate discussion and interaction between the participants”, she adds, pointing to the awarding of the Professor João Gomes Pedro award, “aimed at distinguishing the professors and the disciplinary areas that contributed most to Medical Education”, as one of the highlights of Beyond MEd.
Thus, it is with “great satisfaction” that the Professor looks at how “this event has been contributing to the development of an institutional culture that values Medical Education and pedagogical issues”, contributing to “improving, facilitating and structuring learning for the development of professionalism and the training of better doctors”.
Facts and Figures:
Number of meeting hours: 26h and 15 minutes
Overall coordination: Professor Rui Tato Marinho and Estela Flambó
Scientific coordination: Professor João Eurico, Professor Luís Soares de Almeida, António Velha, Beatriz Cruz, Bernardo Alves
Logistics: Professor Nuno Santos, Beatriz Santos, Irina Spac, Miguel Teixeira, Miguel Bernardino
Image: Professor Maria José Diógenes, Sofia Carvalho, Pedro Pinto, Mariana Bernardino
Communication Assistance: Inês Domingues (IMM), Joana Sousa (FMUL), Pedro Marques (CHULN).
Audience at the Workshops and Plenary Sessions: 236 in Workshops. Plenary meetings between 280 (maximum) and 130 (minimum).
The 7th Beyond MEd meeting took place from 10 to 13 November 2020.
Joana Sousa and Sofia Tavares