The Department of Health Professions Education’s mandate is to transform the quality of teaching, learning and research activities in the College of Health Sciences by training lecturers on the art of teaching, learning and research to keep abreast with current scientific and technological innovations in Health Professions Education.
Health Professions Education functions as an innovative and services unit
⦁ Professional Development Training through organizing , administration and coordination of faculty development workshops on specific topics cycle schedule;
⦁ Clinical Skills Laboratory Training;
⦁ E-learning innovations and users(faculty and students) support in the College of Health Sciences;
⦁ Health Education Advanced Leadership Program in Zimbabwe(HEALZ) coordination and administration;
⦁ Health Professions Education Research.
Medical Education as a discipline in medical schools is a recent development during the last twenty years. There have been many drivers but two of them have been the overwhelming growth in information, information technology and its rapid obsolescence. The other push has been from the need to increase patient safety, driven by costs of care, litigation and human rights lobbying. These have transformed medical education from being ‘knowledge’ driven to competence based. The University of Zimbabwe through the College of Health Sciences has been joining the slip stream slowly. By creating a Department of Health Professions Education, (HPE) the College is pushing to the front. This recognizes the other professions in health sciences, something many universities still keep separate. It was established in March 2014 and it became fully operational from April 2014.
The department was one of the outcomes of the MEPI [Medical Education Partnership Initiative – a USA government initiative to improve health human resources in Africa] project in Zimbabwe under NECTAR [Novel Education Clinical Trainees and Researchers]. So, the department is very much a College effort. This is further underlined by the fact that the departmental Board includes faculty from a number of other departments, such as Medical Laboratory Sciences, Nursing Sciences, Medicine etc.
In the past year of its existence the key achievements of the department have been the transitioning of a number of activities which were under NECTAR and supported by NECTAR partners, University of Colorado and University of Stanford in USA. One of the projects is the HEALZ [Health Education and Leadership for Zimbabwe]. This teaches faculty to be aware of education theory and practice, including curriculum development concepts. We now have local faculty organizing and facilitating the course.
Other programmes include the Mentored Clinical Scholar Programme aimed at postgraduates which focuses on hidden curriculum issues such as professionalism, leadership, advocacy etc but have since been moved to the Department of Medicine. Education technology can leverage on this to produce an enabling learning and teaching environment for students and teachers. The department is spearheading a number of projects to bring e-learning technology to a mass level, such as the SMILE box (Portablecloud) and Virtual Lectures between Harare and Parirenyatwa Hospitals. The clinical skills laboratory is also under the HPE department and sessions for various clinical skills procedures are periodically conducted for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
To promote professionalism and excellence in health professions education through vibrant Faculty Development workshops, Health Education Advanced and Leadership programme, ICT in Health Professions Education (e-learning) initiatives and competence based clinical skills training.
Our vision is to create a vibrant, dynamic, collaborative and well-resourced community of teachers responsible for transforming faculty from novice to expert educators. This will result in faculty that consistently meet international standards of excellence in health professions education and produce health professionals that are well prepared to enter their chosen vocation. Moreover, the DHPE will institutionalize the value of and resources needed to ensure the sustainability of continuous educational program improvement, making Zimbabwe an international leader in medical education.