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Keywords:

  • medical education;
  • health professions education;
  • healthcare

Abstract

Medicine and the other healing arts advance through new knowledge, improved practices, and increasing engagement with their responsibilities to the patients and societies that they serve. Does the education of doctors and other healthcare professionals lead in these changes, or does it follow?Failures in education are often blamed for defects in health care systems. The Lancet Commission Report on Education of Health Professions for the 21st Century, published in late 2010 (Frenk et al. 2010), argued that education needed transformation to meet the needs of health systems. This commentary argues that there is not a general crisis in education of health professions. Education often leads, rather than follows. Problems in healthcare require engagement by politicians and decision makers in a concerted and coordinated plan for capacity building in education, and for targeted solutions to problems of inadequate resources. Health professionals, and education systems, should continue to lead and innovate, through initiatives for the improvement of institutions and programmes.