The MGH Institute’s Health Professions Education Department has created its second international partnership with the launch of its master’s degree with Alfaisal University, where faculty will teach in-person on the Riyadh campus.

The Health Professions Education Department at the MGH Institute continues its international expansion with its recent partnership with a Saudi Arabia university that promises to expand health professions education in the Middle East.

Led by Dr. Janice Palaganas, the department’s associate chair, the Institute will offer its Master of Health Professions Education (MS-HPEd) at Alfaisal University, located in the country’s capital city of Riyadh. While current students in the HPEd programs masters (and doctoral) programs take classes exclusively online, 70% of the class sessions for Alfaisal students will be held on campus to meet the region’s preference of providing in-person education.

“Our partnership fits the needs of the region in that exclusive online programs are not recognized,” said Palaganas. “Although this in-person requirement is not unique to Middle Eastern countries, we are happy that we can meet the needs of those who work in these cultures.”

According to Dr. Khaled Al-Kattan, Dean of Alfaisal’s College of Medicine, the partnership will go a long way towards the university’s goals of being the region’s leader in the field. "The agreement with the MGH Institute enables better access for improving health professions education faculty in the Middle East,” he said. “It is aligned with Alfaisal's mission of leadership to advance the skills of educators in the region." 

Palaganas has developed connections with Alfaisal and other Middle East universities over the past several years, thanks to having given several keynotes and guest lectures at simulation conferences. An expert on simulation education – in addition to her work at the IHP, she also maintains her position as a faculty member at the Center for Medical Simulation – she recognized there was a growing need to provide faculty in the region with the skills to improve healthcare education.

The Alfaisal students will be integrated into the part-time, two-year program with other international and U.S.- based students. They will choose between two tracks within the MS-HPEd: Simulation-Based Education (SBE) to improve their teaching skills in healthcare simulation, and Simulation Operations for administrators, directors, and technical specialists looking to acquire skills in simulation program administration, leadership, and management of simulation technologies to support simulation-based education.

“They wanted to import the best of our teaching modalities and scholarship into the Middle East,” said Dr. Roger Edwards, Chair of the MGH Institute’s Department of Health Professions Education. “Improved training of health professions education faculty will have domino effects on the educational outcomes of students across the health professions.”

Edwards noted that the focus on SBE enables a wide spectrum of tools to be more effectively deployed. 

Several faculty are being hired to prepare for the program’s fall semester start. They include Dr. Cynthia Mosher, Assistant Director in the Department of Clinical Skills Simulation Center at Alfaisal, who this spring became one of the first four graduates of the Institute’s PhD in Health Professions Education program.

“There are a lot of simulation efforts and amazing simulationists in the Middle East,” said Palaganas. “I'm excited to support and further the region's growth in healthcare simulation knowledge.”

The Alfaisal collaboration is the second one with an affiliate of Mass General Brigham, of which the MGH Institute is its only degree-granting member. Massachusetts General Hospital’s Psychiatry Academy currently offers a certificate in child mental health.

In addition, faculty at St. George’s University Medical School in Grenada have enrolled in the Health Professions Education's Teaching and Learning Certificate program for the past two years. By 2024, eight cohorts are expected to have completed the course.

man in white shirt and Kaffiyeh sits at a large desk with a pen to paper
Dr. Khaled Al-Kattan of Alfaisal University signing the agreement.

IHP President Paula Milone-Nuzzo signs the agreement with Alfaisal University.
IHP President Paula Milone-Nuzzo signs the agreement with Alfaisal University.