By providing for the needs of Nepal’s rural poor, PAHS will address a root cause of the conflict that devastated Nepal for the last decade. Reducing the divide between the urban and rural populations will provide a basis for lasting peace in Nepal.
Currently, most medical schools in Nepal are for-profit, and medical education is very traditional. Medical schools do not adequately emphasize the health care challenges of Nepal, nor provide students with a feeling of social responsibility to improve health care for disadvantaged populations. In contrast, PAHS will employ highly innovative strategies in several areas to encourage its graduates to work to improve the health status of the rural poor. These include:
Students from rural areas will be strongly encouraged to apply to and enroll in PAHS. Since research has shown that doctors’ backgrounds are an important factor in determining where they practice medicine, this will increase the likelihood of PAHS graduates practicing in remote areas. Preference will also be given to female applicants, members of socially disadvantaged groups, and applicants who have been employed as paramedics in remote regions.
PAHS is implementing a highly progressive curriculum, modeled after modern curricula used by a growing number of Western medical schools. The curriculum at PAHS focuses on community health, the values of service and altruism, and the health of the entire population, to enhance students’ sensitivity to the health care needs of the rural poor.
Locations for Clinical Training
To supplement the core training in Patan Hospital, PAHS students will be assigned to clinical postings at rural hospitals and health care centers throughout the diverse ethnic landscape of Nepal, with an emphasis on regions with disadvantaged populations. Students will begin these rotations in their first year at PAHS and continue them throughout their medical education. Students’ experiences at these community postings will reinforce the principles of social responsibility and compassion that the PAHS curriculum is designed to instill in them. At the remote postings, students will live with local villagers and will learn to overcome the apprehensions associated with working with limited resources in unfamiliar cultures.
The hospitals and health care centers where students will complete these rotations will be carefully chosen to ensure that students have positive learning experiences. PAHS faculty and staff will give the students careful guidance and moral support, in addition to providing them with practical knowledge.
Assessment of students
Students will be evaluated frequently, and through a variety of methods. Tests of their skills and knowledge will be complemented by assessments of their ability to demonstrate the attributes that PAHS aspires to teach them, such as empathy, communication, professionalism, and leadership. When the students complete rotations in remote parts of Nepal, PAHS staff members will interview members of the local community, including community leaders and patients treated by the students. Through these interviews, the staff will determine if students are informing patients of their choices for health care and showing respect for their cultural backgrounds, as well as providing professional and competent treatment.