North Carolina AHEC Program
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British Physician Visits North Carolina AHECs

Dr. Christine DaintyIn September 2011, Christine Dainty, MD, became the 33rd National Association of Clinical Tutors (NACT) Fellow to visit North Carolina from the United Kingdom. Dainty (photo right) is the associate director, postgraduate general practice education and a postgraduate clinical tutor with the St. Helens and Knowsley Acute Trust, and honorary senior lecturer at Liverpool University.

During her stay, she visited Area L AHEC in Rocky Mount, Greensboro AHEC, Mountain AHEC in Asheville, and Wake AHEC in Raleigh. She also had several meetings with physicians, staff and students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) School of Medicine, UNC Hospitals, and the UNC Health Science Library. The focus of her visit was to gather the views of trainers and trainees during the early years of medical training on the effectiveness of feedback and how this may influence clinical performance.

“The faculty advisor is an honest broker for the students here,” observed Dainty. “Feedback starts at an early stage. It is also reassuring to see the curricula redesign process at UNC with compentencies and professionalism looked at early on. It is impressive to see education worked into the profession of a clinician. It is an investment in society. The educators here are motivated individuals who see that building in time to work on good performance and patient safety is a valuable thing.”

“We have similar frustrations in easing the transitions from primary care to hospital care, so we can definitely learn from each other, “ said Dainty when asked about the similarities and differences between medical care and medical education in the UK and the USA. “One advantage I do feel we have is that a medical student in the UK can choose their specialty based entirely on what kind of medicine they want to practice with little or no effect of how they will pay off the school expenses. However, there are more similarities than differences.”

“This fellowship was a quite rare opportunity to spend quality time in a different medical system,” said Dainty. “After over 22 years as a professional, it was wonderful to step back and look at my practice of medicine. I will definitely recommend the fellowship to my peers in primary care. North Carolina is very fortunate to have such a unique system as AHEC. The program has a strong clear vision. It’s great to have the structure of a statewide network with local flexibility.”

Editor’s Note: In 1976, John Lister, MD, of the United Kingdom and Christopher Fordham, MD, of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine created the Travelling Fellowship—an exchange program whereby AHEC-based faculty from North Carolina spent a month studying aspects of the British medical education and health services delivery system. In return, NC AHEC hosted fellows selected by the National Association of Clinical Tutors (NACT) from the UK. In 1996, the American portion of the exchange became known as the Eugene S. Mayer Fellowship thanks to contributions made in memory of the longtime NC AHEC director.