Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) has signed an agreement with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International LLC (ACGME-I), establishing a strategic cooperation that aims to enhance advanced speciality programs and training in SEHA’s teaching centres and hospitals. This agreement makes the UAE the second country in the world world, after Singapore, to have its residency programs accredited by the ACGME-I outside of America.
The ACGME is the authority that is responsible for accrediting hospitals and medical facilities sponsoring postgraduate education programs for recently graduated doctors, also known as residents and fellows, in different medical specialties. The ACGME-I mandates that the highest training standards for doctors be implemented at a medical institutions before the accreditation is granted, and has established standards for institutional, foundational, and advanced specialty accreditation.
In phase one of the agreement, SEHA will be seeking institutional accreditation for all its teaching hospitals as well as seventeen training programs in eight different specialties.
Commenting on the agreement, H.E. Mr. Saif Bader Al Qubaisi, Chairman of SEHA, said, “This is a very important strategic initiative for SEHA, and ensures that we remain focused on improving the quality of services and care in the SEHA HealthSystem to build trust with the local community. High levels of medical services require rigorous training and accreditation, and we look forward to Abu Dhabi joining the world’s most advanced healthcare destinations when it comes to quality of patient care.”
Dr. Ali Abdel Karim Obaidli Group Chief Clinical Affairs Officer at clinical affairs of SEHA, said, “There is a concerted trend towards more structured and formative training worldwide, which will ultimately result in better training and significant improvement of patient care. We expect to obtain the institutional accreditation for our teaching hospitals this November, which will allow our individual residency programs to get accredited starting next year. This will initially include 8 priority specialties including Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Paediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, General Surgery, Anaesthesia and Transitional year. The remaining programs will apply for accreditation in phase two.”
Mr. Mohammed Hamad al-Hamli, Group Chief Support Services Officer of SEHA, pointed to the importance of the agreement in providing an educational and training environment appropriate for doctors to meet Abu Dhabi’s future healthcare needs. He said, “This is an important agreement that opens the doors for us to excel in postgraduate medical education and to create an attractive academic environment for young graduating physicians in Abu Dhabi, and for the best from around the world. Changes to postgraduate medical education will take time and effort, and requires the collaboration of all stakeholders. The next generation of doctors must receive education and training commensurate with patient needs so that we can provide world class quality care, and meet the future needs of Abu Dhabi’s health care delivery system.”
Mr. Carl Stanifer, CEO of SEHA, noted that SEHA has devoted extensive resources over the years to implement the highest of healthcare standards, and is highly capable of keeping up with the training requirements adopted by the U.S Council. "The signing of this agreement with the American Council is a result of years of hard work. Our team and a large number of dedicated staff from our teaching BE’s have worked tirelessly to support SEHA’s strategic vision of improving patient care through excellence in graduate medical education. We have undertaken a number of initiatives that have prepared us to move forward with our US based partners to improve health care by transforming and advancing the quality of resident physicians’ education through the ACGME-I accreditation process.”
Dr. Ghazaleh Bilhj, Deputy Medical Director and Head of Children Departments in SEHA’s Al Ain Hospital, noted that training under the new ACGME-I system will lead doctors to the highest level of scientific and global endeavour, improve the delivery medical services and ultimately prove beneficial for patients.
Also commenting on the agreement, Dr. Mariam Al Mazrouei, Deputy CEO of Corniche Hospital, said, "There is no doubt that this agreement between SEHA and the ACGME-I for the adoption and implementation of the educational standards of the ACGME-I will help UAE nationals and young doctors excel in their future careers."
She said the agreement would facilitate development of an environment that attracts UAE nationals to the field of medicine, where they will receive training on par with programmes in Europe and the USA. The Corniche Hospital has adopted the Obstetrics and Gynaecology training programmes from ACGME-1, with three UAE national doctors joining the programme this year.
Within the framework of cooperation between the two sides, SEHA held its first three-day training session cooperatively with the ACGME-I. The event, attended by SEHA Senior Leadership and medical education committees members, outlined the way forward for adopting ACGME-I’s rigorous standards. Dr Thomas Nasca, The Chief Executive Officer of the ACGME, offered an introduction into the philosophy, mission and values of ACGME-I as well as an understanding of the accreditation and its institutional requirements. Mr John Naylen, Executive Vice President & COO of the ACGME, focused on how to operationalize the values and requirements of ACGME-I, and the structure and details of the Graduate Medical Education Committees, the DIO, Program Directors and the GME Office.