Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Updates on Perdana University - Berita MMA Interview with Dean, Prof Dr Charles M. Wiener MD - Part I

Someone had drop a message in the shoutout box, asking about the new medical school in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. MMA Berita Editorial recently had the opportunity to interview Prof. Dr. Charles M. Wiener MD, Professor od Medicine & Physiology of JHU School od Medicine. John Hopkins is to establish the foundations of the new Perdana University, the first private graduate medical school and private teaching hospital to be setup in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The Interview with the Dean of Perdana University. [Following article is from January issue of Berita MMA]

1) Johns Hopkins has a number of facilities in this region like in China and Singapore, how are they different from the one in Malaysia?
Prof. Dr. Charles: Johns Hopkins has a clinical oncology unit and a small clinical research component. It does not have any medical education at all over in Singapore.

In China, it is mostly under graduate it's not a significant medical school. Again, this is the first Johns Hopkins' school of medicine International collaboration.......
2) What are your main objectives at this point in time in establishing the medical school in Malaysia?
Prof. Dr. Charles: The objectives right now are to finalise our application for approval from MQA and MMC; start interviewing and talking to faculty members who might be interested in coming to Perdana University; talking about where our temporary facility is going to be; setting up and administration and IT infrastructure, and planning to Master Plan the new campus.
3) What programmes are offered at the Perdana University and how different are they from what is currently offered in medical schools in Malaysia?
Prof Dr Charles:
The important distinction is that this is going to be graduate school of medicine. It is based on the American model where people first obtain their under graduate degree in whatever discipline - whether it is a BA or BSc- it doesn't have to be in science. But you have to complete a set of pre-requisities that are generally covered in the 1st 2 years of medical school e.g. physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics etc.

For instance, I was an economic major in college, not a science major. Within the course of my economic training, I took the basic science subjects that I was required to take for medical school.
4) In the traditional system, a graduate would have to clock in a number of years before one is qualified as a specialist. So, how is this programme different to the model at Johns Hopkins?
Prof Dr Charles: Our system is definitely different, when you graduate from a medical school as MD after four years you immediately start your specialty training whether it is in paediatrics, internal medicine and graudates spend their 3 - 5 years immediately after medical school obtaining their specialty certificates and specialty training. After that they can further do training to sub-specialise in cardiology or an area of their interest.

In our programme, the students are more matured at the beginning. They generally come to an informed decision about what they want to spend their lives doing and allowed to go directly to do that ar our medical school.

In America, the 4th year of medical school is very much similar to the house officer training in the British system.

Another point of difference is our system is that in the "Genes to Society" curriculum, students start clinical exposure on day one of classes. So, interviewing, history note taking begins from day one. In this sense, it is a fairly matured curriculum.

5) Is there an opportunity for students in Malaysia to do practical cross training, say in America under this program?
Prof Dr Charles: The Perdana University will be in collaboration with Johns Hopkins and since Johns Hopkins knows this is a school of high comparable quality to Johns Hopkins, we anticipate no problems for students to do rotations in Johns Hopkins.

In fact, I have already had countless inquiries from Johns Hopkins students asking, can they come to Perdana University for rotations. This applies to Malaysian students as well in terms of rotations as well as postgraduate training in Johns Hopkins campus in Baltimore, America.

6) What are your criteria for student selection into this program?
Prof Dr Charles: The curriculum will be delivered in English and we're expecting all students to take the US Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), take the test of English (TOFEL), or the English language equivalent and have either an under graduate or its equivalent including all pre-medical requirements we expect. Essentially, the pre-medical requirements are the same as what we have for Johns Hopkins. Finally, there will be a personal interview.

Broadly speaking, there are a number of science requirements that are the same in most US medical schools. What we have done in Johns Hopkins, which we are going to mimic here, is that we're asking students that they show they are capable to communicating both in the oral and written form based on the curriculum that they have done and some kind of original research of some sort. Finally, they have to demonstrate they have the team work skills. So, our criteria highlight most of these characteristics.

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