off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

UHS-PAME initiative
helps Journal Editors
get HEC recognition

An initiative taken by the University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore in collaboration with Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME) to start a Certificate Course in Medial Editing has achieved its objective of improving the standard of medical journals in Pakistan. It is evident from the fact that some of the editors who completed this course have been successful in getting their journals recognized by the Higher Education Commission, Government of Pakistan. Names of these journals have been included in the revised list of recognized list of journals issued by HEC recently.

Sharing the information regarding recognition of their journal by HEC, Dr. Sherin Aziz Editor of Journal of Aziz Fatema Medical & Dental College, Fasilabad said that “this is all because of Certificate Course in Medical Editing. We are grateful to all those who guided us during the course. It was an excellent course facilitated by all the legends of medical journalism in Pakistan. It was all because of team efforts in building professional capacity of editors through this CME. We are all proud of the whole team of facilitators. We are also looking forward to join the Advance Course in Medical Editing when it starts.”. Dr. Noori Kiran also affiliated with JAFMDC remarked that “the course has been extremely productive for us. Many prayers and good wishes. This is a Sadqa Jaria in true manner”. Of course it was team effort of the Editor and other Editorial Board Members of JAFMDC. There were four faculty members from their institution which were affiliated with this journal who were participants in the CME Batch-2.

Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Editor of Journal of Sheikh Zayed Medical College Rahim Yar Khan said that the recognition of their journal by HEC “was the success of the CME Course organized by UHS. As a participant of this course I am extremely grateful to all the facilitators i.e. Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid, Prof. Jamshed Akhtar, Prof. Akhtar Sherin, Dr. Fatema Jawad, Dr. Masood Jawaid. They all guided us in such a nice way that I could apply all the concepts in a way that it helped a lot to improve our journal. The result is that it has now been recognized by HEC. This I believe shows the practical utility of this course. I would like to thank all the lovely facilitators for the devotion and dedication in organizing and managing this course. Needless to say that it was because of the vision and dedication of our faculty and Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid in particular to promote the cause of medical journalism in Pakistan.”

Editors of a number of other biomedical journals published by various medical institutions have also attended this course in the first two batches while thirty-five candidates are enrolled in the CME Batch-3 currently in progress. It has helped them to improve their journals as well.

It may be mentioned here that we suggested starting such a course at EMAME conference held at Bahrain in 2008 but the idea was discussed in detail later at the EMAME conference held at Shiraz in Iran in 2015. This meeting was chaired by Maj. Gen. Prof. M. Aslam the then VC of UHS who was also participating in the conference. Later on details were further discussed at numerous meeting held at JPMA office in Karachi which was attended by many editors and PAME Executive. The proposal was forwarded to UHS but unfortunately soon after Maj. Gen. Aslam retired and no further progress could be made. The new VC UHS was not interested but luckily when Prof. Javed Akram got appointed as a permanent VC of UHS he took personal interest and revived this project. He already had a keen interest in this subject as he was the local organizing secretary when PMJA (which was later renamed as PAME in 2010) organized the first seminar on Medical Writing at King Edward Medical College, Mayo Hospital Lahore in September 1992. It was his personal interest and that of his team that we could eventually start this course in 2019. We got much needed help and assistance from Mr. Muhammad Atif Director Media and Publications at UHS as well. Now it is planned to upgrade this course into a Master’s in Health Journalism which will consist of four modules. The detailed programme along with the curriculum has been forwarded to UHS and if there are no hindrances, hopefully the second module will also start soon. Credit for all this goes to the present Vice Chancellor of UHS who got this concept implemented which makes it the second course for training of editors in the EMRO region after Islamic Republic of Iran which started a similar programme at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences some years ago.

We are also planning an online course on Medical Editing and Journalism which will neither replace nor minimize the importance of the CME Course at UHS and its other modules as Face to Face learning offers innumerable advantages and it has a bright future.

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