Medical Education Reform: The Asian Experience

Lam, Tai Pong MBBS, MFM, PhD, MD; Bess Lam, Yu Ying MA

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181b18189
International Medical Education

Medical education reform is taking place all over the world including Asia, which has 60% of the world’s population. Confronted with diverse social and cultural needs as well as resource constraints, various regions in Asia have carried out medical education reform at different levels and directions. In this article, the authors describe the application of Western-inspired reforms and localization and adaptation of Western models to fit the cultural and community needs in the five different subregions of Asia: (1) Eastern Asia, (2) Southern Asia, (3) Southeastern Asia, (4) Central Asia, and (5) Western Asia. The article reviews whether the medical education reforms brought improvement to the medical curricula and effectively fulfilled the cultural and social needs of Asian countries. The authors also explore the establishment of medical education departments in many Asian medical schools and the incorporation of research findings into medical practice. Departments of medical education will facilitate localization and promote further development of medical education reform in Asia despite the challenges ahead.

Author Information

Dr. Lam is associate professor, Family Medicine Unit, The University of Hong Kong, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong.

Ms. Lam is research assistant, Family Medicine Unit, The University of Hong Kong, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Lam, Family Medicine Unit, The University of Hong Kong, 3/F Ap Lei Chau Clinic, 161 Main Street, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong; telephone: 25185657; e-mail: (

© 2009 Association of American Medical Colleges