off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Mohamed Al-Eraky-a
medical Educationist

with a difference

Dr. Mohamed M. Al-Eraky is an Egyptian (not an Iraqi), working in Saudi Arabia. He is a frequent traveler to Pakistan. He is a renowned medical educationist. A very humble, soft spoken with an infectious smile, he has emerged as a medical educationist par excellence who has over the years successfully developed his own identity in this new discipline of Medical Education. Listening to him at medical education conferences organized by University of Lahore and Khyber Medical University, I was immensely impressed with his personality, the way he makes the presentation and makes extremely difficult things look so easy for the audience.

There are two reasons why I selected him to feature in this column. Firstly in one of his presentations he challenged the traditional Miller’s Triangle and introduced other ways of looking at assessment in medical education which is one of his landmark publications. It made lot of sense. Secondly his presentation on “Leadership” at a symposium organized by University of Lahore last year was yet another innovative thought wherein he pointed out that we need more good followers rather than leaders. We need collaboration rather than competition. The title of his talk was also “Followership” which he termed was the other side of leadership. He pointed out that understanding of leadership is incomplete unless we understand the followership.

He further disclosed that a literature search on PubMed showed that there are 60,522 articles on leadership but there were only one hundred twelve papers on Followership though in reality the number of followers is more. He maintains that we need more good followers and instead of competition, we need more collaboration. Everybody wishes to be a leader and not follower. It is extremely important that every one learns about their role. We ought to think outside the pyramid, instead of Does, let us do together. Passive followers Dr. Eraky believes are bad. If he had to choose, he himself will opt for followership rather than leadership Dr. Eraky maintains.

Dr. Mohamed Al-Eraky

When I decided to write about him, I requested another friend and renowned medical educationist Dr. Gohar Wajid who introduced Eraky to Pakistan and also has been his supervisor for PhD to share some information about him and he was kind enough to do that. Dr. Gohar Wajid recalled that when he joined Dammam University in October 2010, he found Dr. Eraky in the department of medical education working as lecturer. At that time he was about to finish his Masters in Medical Education from Dundee. He managed to push Dr. Eraky to start his PhD from Maastricht and Dr. Gohar was his local supervisor along with two other supervisors from Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

Again it was Dr. Gohar Wajid who introduced Dr. Eraky to first Khyber Medical University Peshawar and then to University of Lahore where now he is a part of the visiting faculty and important member of the team which runs courses on Masters in Health Professions Education. Currently Dr. Eraky is also the supervisor of a Pakistani Dr. Zafar who is doing PhD from Maastricht University. Dr. Zafar is currently working as a lecturer at Dammam University.

Dr. Eraky has exceptionally strong visual intelligence, makes great schemes and translates difficult concepts into easy to understand storyboards for students. He uses his creative and innovative thinking skills to merge difficult theoretical academic concepts with real life experiences for enhancing easy students understanding a very rare quality. His personality is an excellent combination of humility, competence, ability, someone who has been blessed by God Almighty with numerous qualities of head and heart. He has now emerged as one of the leading experts in the Arab World on teaching and assessing professionalism in the Arab context.

Dr. Mohamed M. Al-Eraky has a brilliant academic record. He did his MB.BCh from Zagazig University Egypt (1989-1994), internship and Masters in Clinical Pathology from the same institution. Later he did Diploma in Medical Education from Dundee University UK in 2009. He earned Masters in Medical Education from Dundee University UK in 2011 and finally got PhD in Health Professions Education from Maastricht University, The Netherlands in 2015. Currently he is affiliated with Imam Abdurrahman Bin Faisal formerly Dammam University Saudi Arabia as Assistant Professor of Medical Education. He has conducted numerous workshops on faculty development, made presentations at national, regional and international conferences in many countries of the world. He has been an affiliate member of the Center for Quality of Assessment and Examination at the Vice President Office for Academic Affairs at the University. He is also recipient of numerous academic Awards and Honours. In Pakistan he has taught numerous batches of Masters in Health Professions Education at University of Lahore as well as Riphah International University. He has twenty four important papers published in leading peer reviewed medical journals to his credit mostly in the field of medical education and professionalism. In his publications he has elaborated the concepts of professionalism and its teaching and assessment.

Dr. Eraky was instrumental in developing teacher training programme known as Essential Skills in Health Professions Education (ESHPE) for health sciences faculty at Dammam University. Dr. Mohamed M. Al-Eraky is an excellent teacher and researcher. He is a team player and is always keen to promote collaborative learning. It was due to his teaching and training at University of Lahore and Riphah International University that hundreds of students have benefitted from his academic wisdom and innovative teaching style at the workshops where he was the facilitator. This also shows that by having a Visiting Faculty programme, our medical institutions and medical universities in particular who cannot afford to have full time faculty consisting of leaders in different specialties, can benefit from their expertize which is also highly cost effective. Let us hope that those at the helm of affairs at Higher Education Commissions in Pakistan understand all this so that our medical universities can benefit from many other world renowned scholars and researchers in different fields.

Tail Piece: We need good, comfortable working environment in our medical institutions where faculty members are given due respect so that they can concentrate and work with devotion and dedication. Otherwise remember even the best quality seeds will never grow in a barren land without proper plough and watering. There is no dearth of talent in Pakistan but we have been losing all this talent due to intellectual corruption which is rampant in our medical institutions.

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