The Lee Jong-wook Fellowship is receiving favorable feedback from trainees and health officials from partner countries thanks to its advanced training programs.
The fellowship program was established to nurture healthcare professionals in developing countries, in memory of the late Lee Jong-wook, the Korean doctor who served as secretary-general of the World Health Organization.
|Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) President Choo Moo-jin speaks at a news conference on Thursday.|
Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) President Choo Moo-jin shared the foundation’s achievement and plans at a news conference on Thursday, celebrating the first anniversary of his inauguration as president.
KOFIH has operated the Lee Jong-wook Fellowship since 2007. The program had brought up about 1,000 healthcare experts from 29 countries until last year.
The program aims to enhance the capabilities of trainees through mid- to long-term training and one-on-one customized curriculum that is tailored to each nation’s characteristics. The fellowship provides pre- and post-training support, which contributes to a sustainable fostering of healthcare professionals.
Under the program, international trainees stay in Korea for up to one year to receive various training. The curriculum includes clinical course, health professional education, public health policy, disease research, executive course, intermediate medical engineering, and advanced medical engineering.
The clinical course has been criticized for excessive lectures and observer-oriented programs. The problem of not being able to teach aggressive clinical practice was inevitable because Korea does not allow a foreigner without a Korean medical license to practice a medical act here.
To resolve the issue, KOFIH replaced clinical practice with virtual reality demonstrations and simulations. It also had professors to visit the trainees’ countries to provide local consulting after the training.
“There was no problem with the public health policy course or the medical engineering course. But trainees had difficulties in participating in clinical training because of the issue of license exchange,” Choo said. “So, we are operating a program to replace clinical practice with VR demonstrations and simulations.”
He also went on to explain about KOFIH’s activities to support the public health in North Korea.
According to Choo, KOFIH has run “North Korea Public Health Academy” since 2013. At first, the academy took place only in Seoul but soon spread across the nation including Gwangju and Daegu.
“With the academy, people started to pay more attention to the support for North Korea’s public health and shared information each other across the country,” Choo said.
KOFIH opened a forum in December to promote civilian cooperation in healthcare between two Koreas. Many groups gathered to share information and tackle problems in North Korea’s public health, he said.
Choo said KOFIH was seeking to sign a memorandum of understanding with healthcare-related groups including Korean Hospital Association, Korean Dental Association, Association of Korean Medicine, and Korean Nurses Association, to work for inter-Korean healthcare issues.
“We will continue our effort to promote collaboration with institutions interested in inter-Korean issues,” he said.
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