This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Yessi Alcántara Lembert, a recent medical graduate from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Ms. Hellen Esbietlana Bello La Cerda is a fourth year medical student from Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.
Due to the need to create innovative changes in society to impact the global health, there has been an increase in youth involved in decision-making who want to see positive changes in society. As doctors-in-training in the Dominican Republic (DR), we understand that youth want to design strategies that promote innovation and transformation in global health.1 As doctors in training we believe that higher education can play a fundamental role for youth to apply critical thinking as an agent of change and get involved in health decision making. The future of society is in its youth, so it is important that they receive national support, taking into account the proposals of projects for improving the health care, and medical students are a fundamental part of that change.2
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that the education system in the DR has significant limitations across all tier levels, which hinders high-quality academic and research training and impacts students’ future contributions to good health governance practices.3 Part of the change is related to the educational system, but developing countries, such as the DR, present a low educational index. One of the strategies to include doctors-in-training in decision making is the modification of the medical curricula where they are given student participation in proposals for change. The second strategy that we propose is reinforcing critical analyses of scientific articles and their comprehension for future medical practice by which young medical doctors in training can participate in the change in global health from their country of origin.
To address this challenge for doctors-in-training, the DR Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCyT) can incorporate evidence-based content, supervised by physician-scientists, into medical curricula. This can highlight user-friendly and gratuitous platforms to high-quality scientific references to be used in student scientific research articles. Likewise, establishing a national investment fund for clinical research2 can provide financial support to physician-scientists across DR public and private institutions. This can encourage DR medical students to seek career advancement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and pursue research training.
Emphasizing evidence-based medicine and research in global medical education is fundamental to fulfill the national commitment to strengthen physicians’ training to see a change of the future to benefit the community with youth involved in positive societal changes. Implementing strategies that increase medical students’ exposure and understanding to ensure high-quality, evidence-based teaching is crucial for countries to achieve health promotion and policy-making activities, laws, rules, regulations or decisions to accomplish the strategic goals and objectives of global health. We consider that youth is tomorrow’s future, so we urge that our suggestions and strategies be taken into account when making decisions that directly or indirectly affect the interests of youth.
- Nittas, V., Buitrago-Garcia, D., Chetty-Mhlanga, S. et al. Future public health governance: investing in young professionals. Int J Public Health 65, 1521–1522 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-020-01521-0
- Oyewole BK, Animasahun VJ, Chapman HJ. Increasing research productivity across Africa. MEDICC Rev 2019;21(2–3):75–76.
- Clark N. Higher Education in the Dominican Republic: International mobility and the challenges of expanding domestic provision. World Education News & Reviews 2013;1-2. https://wenr.wes.org/2013/10/higher-education-in-the-dominican-republic-international-mobility-and-the-challenges-of-expanding-domestic-provision.
About the author
Yessi Alcántara Lembert is a recent medical graduate from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She served as the Local Officer of the Standing Committee on Professional Exchange (SCOPE) (2014−2016) and currently participates as an active member of ODEM-Dominican Republic.
Hellen Esbietlana Bello La Cerda is a fourth year medical student from Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She served as the Local Officer of the Standing Committee on Public Health (SCOPH) (2020) and currently participates as an active member of ODEM-Dominican Republic.