Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet has awarded for the first time a new major international science prize in the field of medical education research. The prize of 50,000 euro is possibly the first and largest in the world in its field. The prize has been awarded to Professor Henk G. Schmidt, University of Erasmus, Rotterdam, for his original and groundbreaking research into medical education research.
The award will be conferred every three years to an eminent researcher, Swedish or foreign, working in a field related to professional healthcare training. The award, which was established by the Gunnar Höglund and Anna-Stina Malmborg Foundation, is designed to stimulate research in the field of medical education, and in so doing help to improve medical teaching, training and healthcare provision.
On the invitation of Karolinska Institutet, universities around the world nominated candidates for the award, which is to be presented at KI’s installation ceremony in the Berwald Hall this November. KI’s Board of Education and the Gunnar Höglund and Anna-Stina Malmborg Foundation have decided to award the prize to Professor Henk G. Schmidt for his outstanding research into learning at all levels, from student to medical specialist. His work included studying student-centred learning, problem-based learning, clinical learning skills, and how people acquire specialist knowledge of medicine. The results of his excellent groundbreaking research efforts have changed medical education around the world.
Professor Kirsti Lonka, holder since 2001 of the Nordic region’s only professorship in medical education and chairman of Karolinska Institutet’s awards committee, is pleased that the new award has drawn attention to this important research field, as it can lead to the results being put into practice by the world’s medical universities.
Medical education deals with how best to acquire the knowledge and skills needed as a healthcare professional; it is also about feelings and attitudes, the communication between the practitioner and the patient, the collaboration between different medical professions, our eagerness to try new solutions in a changing world, life-long learning and the will and ability to search out new ideas and help the development of medical science through individual research. All these factors are critical to high-quality healthcare provision. Most people agree that the treatment of disease should be based on scientific verification; in the same way, such research should be the platform upon which we provide medical education and in-service training. Prominent nations in the field are Canada and the USA, with many others, including Holland and Sweden, close on their heels.
The founders of the award, Professor Gunnar Höglund and associate professor Anna-Stina Malmborg both have a life-long connection with Karolinska Institutet. Professor Höglund has been working for a number of years with the development of medical education at KI, during which he has trained prospective doctors and worked as a professor at the National Institute for Working Life. His wife, Anna-Stina Malmborg, has been the director of the Department of Clinical Bacteriology at Huddinge Hospital and was chairman of the Friends of Stockholm’s Modern Museum for 12 years.