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When war rippled through the peaceful country of Cambodia in the 1970s, it lost a generation of medical teachers and doctors.

BU GHC has been in engaged in Cambodia for nearly 10 years now to support the development and continued expansion of Family Medicine education and training with newer programs in Cambodia with the University of Health Sciences (UHS) in Phnom Penh.

In Southeast Asia, there is one doctor for every 1,200 people. However, in Cambodia, the disparity worsens by six-fold, with one doctor for almost every 7,100 patients. As a result, this doubles the rate at which cancers, heart disease, influenza, pneumonia, and diabetes lead to death. BU-GHC sees improving the number of primary care physicians in the country as the most effective way to shrink the number of deaths and illnesses contracted in the nation.

Since 2010, our close consultation with University of Health Sciences, the only public medical school in Cambodia, has had the following outcomes:

  • The first competency-based curriculum in the University, written entirely by UHS faculty, for the 2-year general medicine program
  • Scholarship for multiple cohorts of faculty and students to complete an online course in Medical Education
  • Ongoing faculty development interactive workshops in competency-based education, including curriculum, case-based and small group teaching, evidence-based medicine, clinical precepting, feedback, OSCE development, and student assessment methodology
  • Visiting professorships in Primary Care/Family Medicine for students in years 4-6
  • Regional working trips to skills labs in Vietnamese Universities
  • Peer-to-peer teaching for medical students
  • Support for student-led clubs in Peer-Assisted Learning and Family Medicine Interest Group
  • Scholarship for general medicine graduates to matriculate to international Masters programs in Health Professional Education
  • Collaboration with UHS researchers and support resulting in published work on Dual Practice of Physicians in Cambodia
  • Support for UHS educators and students to present their work in regional and international conferences in Family Medicine and Medical Education in Malaysia, Brunai, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul and Laos
  • Workshops for University leaders in Primary Care/Family Medicine

Our team has worked as consultants with USAID, WHO, and the World Bank Group on projects on Health Professional Education in Cambodia.

This has now led to the next generation of Cambodian doctors demonstrating the country’s resiliency by spontaneously developing a dynamic new student-led Family Medicine Interest Group. Two leaders of this growing group traveled to Brazil for the world meeting of the World Association of Family Doctors (WONCA) to present their experience of working with BU GHC in developing FM in Cambodia. One now hopes to become the eventual leader of the first academic department of Family Medicine in Cambodia.