SAARC countries can promote academic friendship to excel and compete with international standards-Prof.M.Nizamuddin


 SAAP-VI and 16th annual conference of PPS
SAARC countries can promote academic
friendship to excel and compete with
international standards-Prof.M.Nizamuddin
Boundary of Physiology accommodates Molecular and Cell Biology,
Biochemistry, Immunology and even Bacteriology - Julie Chan
Medical school curriculum must evolve to match the changes
in clinical practice-Robert G.Carroll

LAHORE: Inaugurating the SAAP-VI and 16th annual conference of Pakistan Society of Physiology hosted by University of Lahore, Prof. Mohammad Nizamuddin Chairman of the Punjab Higher Education Commission has advised the SAARC countries to promote academic friendship to excel and compete with international standards. “Enhancing Academic and Research Collaboration in South Asia” was the theme of the conference which attracted a large number of teachers in physiology from all over the country besides numerous delegates from overseas.

Pakistan, Prof. Nizamuddin said needs to enhance its capacity in the field of medicine & research which forms the backbone of advancement in any field. However, our aims would be easier to attain if South Asian Countries collaborate with each other. Scientific programme of the conference included 25 plenary talks from foreign as well as national invited speakers, three parallel pre-conference teaching workshops along with four sessions on vertical integration of physiology. Pre-conference workshops were held on December 12th while the conference was on December 13-15th 2018. This South-Asian event had come back to Pakistan after ten years of completing its first rotation in South Asian member countries with developed National Physiological Societies.

One of the two plenary lectures was delivered by Dr. Mei Ling Tsai Co-chair International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS), and Council member in Federation of Asian and Oceania Physiological Societies (FAOPS) from Taiwan. The topic of his presentation was “Teaching and Learning in 21st century”. Dr. M. Tariq, Director Medical Education from Aga Khan University delivered the other plenary lecture on “Flipped Classroom: a blended learning instructional strategy to enhance student engagement”.

President of IUPS, Dr. Julie Chan from Taiwan addressing the conference through Video link congratulated the organizers of SAAP VI and UOL for holding this conference and Physiology teaching workshop in order to promote research and education in South Asia. She elaborated the richness of the subject of Physiology by saying: “The boundary of Physiology becomes blur to accommodate Molecular and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Immunology and even Bacteriology”. She further emphasized that “integrated research in Physiology and biomedical field must be brought to the forefront through such platforms”.

Photographed during the SAAP Flag holding Ceremony the group photograph
shows Prof. M. Nizamudidn along with Left to right: Dr. Samina Malik
Organizing Secretary SAAP VI, Dr. Arif Siddiqui Chair SAAP VI,
Rector UOL, Dr. Rita Khadka, Dr. Zafar Tanveer President 
PPS, Prof. M. Ayub and others.

Dr. Robert G. Carroll, Chair Education Committee, International Union of Physiological Sciences from USA, in his video-lecture addressed the faculty of Physiology, before the panel discussion on Physiology curriculum and its future challenges. He highlighted that the medical school curriculum must evolve to match the changes in clinical practice. Foundational science instruction occurs most frequently in student centered, integrated educational encounters. The goal of instruction is “How to best prepare students for the clinical clerkships”, which is the next phase of their training. Evaluation of the foundational sciences confirms that physiology is highly valued by the medical students. In a 2018 survey of all US medical school graduates, pathophysiology was ranked highest of the 14 courses surveyed, followed by clinical skills, and then physiology, with neuroscience in position number six. Medical student appreciation of the importance of physiology remains strong, and this appreciation can be further enhanced by making sure that physiology instruction emphasizes illustrations of clinical relevance and by aligning physiology instructional content with the clinical expectations.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Dr. Samina Malik from University of Lahore and Dr. Mei Ling Tsai, Co-chair of International Union of Physiological Science from Taiwan facilitated the workshop on “Lecturing at a Higher Cognitive Level, involving Critical Thinking and Role play”. They pointed out that the subject of Physiology forms the foundation of clinical sciences, and hence it becomes a fundamental constituent of medical curriculum. Lecturers in South-Asian region are eager to spell-out knowledge instead of focusing on the experience of students during their lectures. When concepts of students are not challenged by critical questioning, learning achieved is short-term. Role plays have often been designed to help students visualize the events of a physiological mechanism. The active involvement promotes learning and retention. This was highlighted.

Another pre-conference workshop was on Digital storytelling in Physiology Teaching. The facilitators included Dr. Muhammad Adnan Kanpurwala from Karachi Institute of Medical Sciences, CMH Karachi and Dr. Alamgir Khan from Army Medical College, National University of Medical Sciences, Rawalpindi.

Digital storytelling, an engaging e-learning strategy, can be defined as the application of varied software techniques to illustrate a topic in multimedia format including aural narration, pictures, script and background music. Although around for decades, its use has become more relevant to today’s millennial learner, and it incorporates many pedagogic styles of learning and assessment.

Characteristics of different types of Multiple-Choice Questions and construction of reliable and valid EMQs were thoroughly discussed & practiced in the workshop on “Making Extended Matching Questions (EMQs) – An Assessment Tool”, facilitated by Dr. Alam Sher Malik (Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia) and co-facilitated by Dr. Karma Tenzin (Bhutan) and Dr. Bishnu H. Paudel (Nepal).

The rapporteur, Dr. Farida Munawar, Assistant Director Medical Education, Shalamar Medical & Dental College, Lahore presented recommendations from these workshops. She stated that “According to John Cowan, teaching is about purposeful creation of situations from which motivated learners should not be able to escape without learning or developing. We may have to adopt blended learning which is any learning that is enhanced by use of technology, but again the queries are: What is the best use of valuable face to face time? How can we use technology to improve students’ learning? Pedagogical explanations are to help students to learn effectively specially to research a subject and how to work collaboratively. Our work should not end here. We all need to continue working together. We should carry on the dialogue among all of us so that we can learn from each other”.

The vertical integration of physiology program was well-conceptualized in eight plenary talks and four parallel workshops by renowned clinicians. The themes of the talks were Clinical Neuro-Endocrinology, Healing and Trauma, Stress Physiology and its Clinical outcomes. The speakers included Dr. Waseem Iqbal (Clinical Physiologist, Peshawar), Dr. Ahsan Noman (Neurophysician, Lahore), Dr. Khalid Mahmood (Neurosurgeon, Lahore), Dr. Shahzad ul Haq (Endocrinologist, Lahore), Dr. Farrukh Iqbal (Medical Specialist, Lahore), Dr. M. Arshad Cheema (General Surgeon, Lahore) and Dr. Sadaf Ahmed (Psycho-physiologist, Karachi). The workshops included “Pre-diabetes and Diabetes Management, A guide to the right approach towards treatment”, facilitated by Dr. Shahzad ul Haq, “1st course on Golden Hour Trauma Management: What a physician should do in the first hour to manage trauma?” facilitated by Dr. Muhammad Arshad Cheema and co-facilitated by Dr. Haroon Ghous, Dr. Abul Fazal, & Dr. Mansab Ali, “Stress Management for the prevention of Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus and Renal failure”, facilitated by Dr. Sadaf Ahmed and “Synopsis Writing in Physiology”, facilitated by Dr. Muhammad Hassan.

Earlier Dr. Mahwish Arooj, Vice Principal University College of Medicine (UCM), University of Lahore (UOL) welcomed the guests and participants of the conference.

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