Online Learning Pioneer Recognized for Innovation in Medical Education

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National award recognizes leading ophthalmic surgeon Dr. Sanjay Sharma for developing MEDSKL, groundbreaking video-based clinical education platform

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Dr. Sanjay Sharma, an ophthalmic surgeon and professor of ophthalmology at Queen’s University, has received the John Ruedy Award for Innovation in Medical Education from the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. Dr. Sharma was recognized for spearheading the development of MEDSKL, a free, open-access platform for medical students that uses video to deliver clinical education from leading physicians around the world.

“Being a doctor requires the ability to apply knowledge and theory in often unpredictable circumstances. Yet today’s medical students still receive their core education primarily through textbooks and lecture halls. Students need earlier access to clinical knowledge and case studies that bring the fundamental aspects of practicing medicine to life,” said Dr. Sharma. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the nearly 200 faculty members who are contributing to MEDSKL. We look forward to continuing to increase access to on-demand clinical education for medical students worldwide.”

MEDSKL provides short animated videos, detailed notes, and “TED Talk”-style lectures on dozens of clinical topics, from general surgery to public health and the legal and ethical aspects of medicine. The content has been developed in collaboration with hundreds of medical school professors from leading universities, and is designed to be aligned both with university curricula and the real-world needs of physicians. MEDSKL’s platform, which also includes discussion forums to promote student engagement with peers and experts, is currently used by students at more 60 leading universities worldwide. MEDSKL currently offers content in 110 different topics across 28 content areas, and expects to complete its library of courses by summer 2017.

“Today’s medical students need educational options that they can access anywhere and anytime, without sacrificing rigor,” said Dr. Maja Artandi, Clinical Assistant Professor for Internal Medicine at Stanford University and a MEDSKL contributor. “MEDSKL offers an intuitive platform that is easy for students to access on-demand, but that is also vetted by researchers and physicians with expertise across the spectrum of medical professions. As both a doctor and an educator, I have found MEDSKL to be an invaluable resource for students, faculty, and practitioners.”

The John Ruedy Award, named after the former Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, recognizes physicians who have developed innovative digital or materials that support undergraduate, postgraduate, or continuing medical education. Previous winners include Dr. Roland Grad, developer of a digital tool that provides data on how health professionals use clinical information, and Dr. Irene Ma, a leading researcher on promoting safety through improved education.

"The AFMC's John Ruedy Award is given to a Canadian innovator in medical education,” said Geneviève Moineau, President and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. “We believe that MEDSKL, led by Dr. Sanjay Sharma from Queen's University, will have a significant impact on medical education both here in Canada as well as internationally."

MEDSKL was designed for medical school students and practicing physicians to learn and review the fundamentals of clinical medicine. Our library of content comes from a collaboration of nearly 200 of the best medical school professors from around the world. We believe in free and open access to medical educational materials, and all modules undergo an editorial peer-review process. The mission of MEDSKL is to make medical education more effective and more accessible whether you are studying for exams or earning CME credits.

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Ben Watsky

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