Weekly reading: medical education in Taiwan

Taiwan’s medical education system bears a close relationship with its colonial and post-colonial history.

Since the late nineteenth century, Western medicine, Chinese medicine, and the practice of the other forms of traditional healing have encountered complex transactions with the state and one another, eventually evolving into the present medical system. Nowadays, the mainstream form of medical education in Taiwan is a 7-year Western program; other forms of medical education include a 5-year graduate program and traditional medicine programs.

Challenged by the National Health Insurance that emphasizes cost management since 1995 and criticized by the US National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation in 1998, medical education reform was implemented by the Taiwan Medical Accreditation Council established in 2000. The reform tries to bring humanities into various aspects of medical education, including student recruitment, curriculum, licensing, and continuing education.

Similar to other modernization projects, the reform transplants the American and British standards to Taiwan. These changes hope to insure the reflective capabilities in physicians on the welfare of patients. However, frustration of current and future physicians may be deepened if the reform is insensitive to local issues or incapable of addressing new global tendencies.

Practice points

  • Taiwan’s medical education has been shaped by strong modernization desires and intensive ethnic struggles since the late nineteenth century.
  • Medical educational has managed to keep the physician/ population ratio steady at 1/600.
  • Implemented in 1995, NHI, with its emphasis on cost management, poses severe challenges to medical professionalism.
  • Modernization desire plays a significant role in the ongoing medical education reform in Taiwan.
  • Medical humanities have been emphasized in the reform in order to insure the reflective capabilities of physicians toward the welfare of their patients and nation.

I encourage you to read the article available below. It’s mainly in the context of Taiwan. However, you might find there are many similiar points in your context. If you like to share them with other learners, you are welcome to leave your comments below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Medical Humanity: Engaging Patients and Communities in Healthcare

Taipei Medical University