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October 2008, Volume 58, Issue 10

Student's Corner

Medical students’ participation in scientific conferences of Pakistan - An overview

Sajjad Raza  ( Students, Dow Medical College, DUHS. )
Muhammad Fawwad  ( Students, Dow Medical College, DUHS. )
Ahmed Hussain  ( Students, Dow Medical College, DUHS. )

Scientific conferences serve as a mean of communication between research ers working at different places and provide a platform to present and share each others research experiences and advancements. Research is one of the most important tools at the disposal of mankind for new discoveries1 which provide the ability to combat upcoming challenges in the management of treatment of patients. However a steady decline in the overall number of new physicians-scientists is seen worldwide.2
In Pakistan a significant number of scientific congresses and meetings are held every year. In context of the growing importance of research in medical science, most conferences encourage students' participation. These interactive scientific events serve as an opportunity for the young researchers to present their work and experience a formal scientific meeting environment.3
Annual PMC Undergraduate Medical Research Fair (www.prime.edu.pk):
Organized by the PMC (Peshawar medical college) department of undergraduate medical research, this scientific meeting features oral and poster presentations on various healthcare related topics by the undergraduate students of different medical institutions across the country. Prizes are awarded to the best oral and poster presentations. The Second Undergraduate Annual Health Research Fair of Peshawar Medical College was held on 29th and 30th April 2008 in PMC. Medical Colleges from all over the country actively participated. More than 80 Posters and abstracts were received, which were displayed and read in the Fair.
National Health Sciences Research Symposium (www.aku.edu):
Each year the Aga Khan University (AKU) organizes a National Health Sciences Research Symposium focusing on a theme relevant to the need of the country, to the professional and academic interests of physicians, nurses and allied health professionals, as well as to basic science researchers, investigators and students. Over the years these symposia have gained recognition as among the premier health sciences research and education events of the country. Prizes are given to the best oral and poster presentations.
Annual Symposium of DOW University of Health Sciences (www.duhs.edu.pk):
This international symposium has been held yearly since last three years and the University faculty has been making these symposia an annual feature in its calendar. This symposium offers participation of students from different medical colleges across the country in oral and poster presentations. Prizes are awarded to the best oral and poster presentations.
Annual Congress of Pakistan Society of Gastroenterology (PSG) and G.I. Endoscopy (www.psg.org.pk):
This annual congress has been held twenty four times at various cities in Pakistan.  The 24th International annual Congress of the PSG was held in Serena Hotel, Quetta from 10th to 13th of April 2008. Gastroenterologists and hepatologists from all over Pakistan and abroad attended the conference and discussed the advancements and dilemmas in their respective fields and shared each others research experiences. This conference encourages students' participation in oral presentations and the best presentation is awarded the students' General Manzoor Gold medal.
Biennial Conference of Pakistan Physiological Society (www.pps.org.pk)
Pakistan physiological society organizes conferences regularly in different cities of Pakistan. Till now 10 conferences have been organized and the 11th biennial conference will be organized in Islamabad in November, 2008. The main purpose of these conferences is to update the advancements in Physiology in Pakistan. Medical students from all medical colleges of Pakistan are always welcomed along with doctors to present their research work. Both oral and poster presentations are the part of the conference. Best oral and poster presentation are acknowledged.
Annual Symposium of Chandka Medical College (www.cmc.edu.pk)
It has been a tradition of Chandka Medical College (CMC) to organize an annual symposium. Eight symposiums have already taken place on different themes according to the need of time. Medical students are top priority of this event along with the doctors. Both oral and poster presentations are awarded in this event.
Medical students' participation in such scientific conferences shows a positive trend towards healthy co-curricular activities and a better future of medical research in Pakistan. Medical schools should give special attention to the preparation of medical students as enthusiastic researchers of tomorrow by providing them with research opportunities during their education4 and encouraging them to learn skills that may help them in improving the health of the community.5

References

1. Nte AR, Awi DD. Writing a scientific paper: getting to the basics. Niger J Med. 2007; 16:212-8.
2. Houlden RL, Raja JB, Collier CP, Clark AF, Waugh JM. Medical students' perceptions of an undergraduate research elective. Med Teach. 2004; 26: 659-61.
3. Kazim SF. Medical Student's Conferences Across The Globe: An Overview. J Pak Med Assoc. 2008 ; 58: 99-100
4. Mitra S, Goyal S, Muliyil JP, Jacob KS. Attitude, concerns and conduct of research among medical students. Natl Med J India. 2006; 19: 346-7.
5. The Plos Medicine Editors: Improving Health by Investing in Medical Education. Plos Med 2005, 2:e424.

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