Numerous impediments to conducting continuing education (CE) courses in remote sites, particularly those courses that take place in developing countries, can include challenges associated with planning, infrastructure, and financial risk. This study reports the effectiveness of a course planned in the United States and executed in Peru, the Gorgas Course in clinical tropical medicine.
A survey was conducted of participants who had completed the Gorgas Course as recently as 6 months and as long as 3 years earlier. The questionnaire sought to determine each participant's reason for participation, whether the course was instrumental in the participant's reaching the personal goal associated with participation, and whether the participant considered the course to be worth the time and money spent to enable participation.
Forty-nine participants responded to the questionnaire, all of whom indicated that the Gorgas Course enabled achievement of the personal goal associated with participation. Fully 100% of course participants stated that participation was worth the time and monetary expenditure, most often citing their having access to patients with tropical diseases and the personal enrichment of living overseas as reasons the course was worth its high cost.
It is logistically and financially feasible to conduct CE courses in developing countries, provided that the organization in the planning country has strong, pre-established relationships with the host institution(s). Continued collaboration between planning partners and frequent, rigorous course evaluations are necessary to enable an international CE course to become a stable, continuous academic offering.
Division of Continuing Medical Education, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1521 Bldg. 154, 1521 11th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35294-4551
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