Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) faculty development programs have operated since 2001 and are designed to overcome many of the challenges inherent in global health collaborations, including alignment with local needs, avoiding persistent dependency, and development of trust. FAIMER fellowship programs, developed for midcareer faculty members in all health professions from around the world, share goals of strengthening knowledge and skills in education leadership, education methods, and project management and evaluation. Building community is another explicit goal that allows participants to support and learn from each other.
The author recommends several practices for successful international collaborations based on 13 years of experience with FAIMER fellowships. These include using authentic education projects to maintain alignment with local needs and apply newly acquired knowledge and skills, teaching leadership across cultures with careful communication and adaptation of concepts to local environments, cultivating a strong field of health professions education to promote diffusion of ideas and advocate for policy change, intentionally promoting field development and leadership to reduce dependency, giving generously of time and resources, learning from others as much as teaching others, and recognizing that effective partnerships revolve around personal relationships to build trust. These strategies have enabled the FAIMER fellowship programs to stay aligned with local needs, reduce dependency, and maintain trust.