May 2012, Volume 62, Issue 5

Response to Letter

‘How to improve medical reading in Pakistani doctors?’ Linked to “Readers are leaders in publishing”

Madam, we are glad to see that our belief of improving medical research among students of Pakistan has activated the thinking of many. Probably few have been having such thoughts for long but never found a dynamic platform such as this one for discussion.
We agree that as documented by literature up till 2004 many international residency programmes had faced these problems. However, they studied this issue and effectively made polices and amendments.1 Subsequently, programme directors of many US training programmes included research as one of the selection criteria.2,3 Others vary from a fixed to less inflexible implementation of this criteria.4 However, others might be doing whatever they think is correct for them. In our setup we need to make amendments with our own resources.
Farooq F. et al. has taken our discussion to the next page by pointing out the determinants behind such poor reading habits in Pakistan. They also suggest some remedial measures. We also agree to their cross sectional analysis of the situation. Futuristic approach to this problem requires us to concentrate on the medical students. Baseline studies have identified only a handful of institutes which include workshops and students\\\' awards in their annual plans. Even within medical colleges from the same city show variability.5 It is high time that the remaining others need to be guided by Pakistan Medical and Dental Council.
Blogging and social sites have an important role in mass awareness. However, we would share a word of caution about blog reading. One must double check the source and authenticity of what is mentioned in blogs. Ideas for prospective research can evolve from such sites by active fresh minds.
Here the role of Higher Education Commission\\\'s Digital Library needs to be further scrutinized. Simply starting with questions such as \\\'Who has access to it?\\\' \\\'From where(only institutes or PCs) do they have this access?\\\' \\\'For what time period in their career do they have such an access?\\\' \\\'Do they loose this access after graduation?\\\' and \\\'Is it as effective for the medical community as much the government is spending on redundant material?\\\' \\\'Are international publication houses actually giving Pakistan the complete access?\\\'
We hope other readers will also contribute to these discussions and the medical curriculum designers acknowledge that it is not too late for our future generation.

Kiran Ejaz
Email: drkiranejaz@gmail.com

Reference

1. Durning SJ, Cation LJ, Ender PT, Gutierrez-Nunez JJ. A resident research director can improve internal medicine resident research productivity. Teach Learn Med 2004; 16: 279-83.
2. Bernstein AD, Jazrawi LM, Elbeshbeshy B, Valle CJD, Zuckerman JD. An Analysis of Orthopaedic Residency Selection Criteria. Bulletin. Hospital for Joint Diseases 2002-2003; 61: 49-57.
3. Carl A. Author of \\\'USMLE Step 1 Made Ridiculously Simple\\\' Gives Tips. Medical Resource Group. (Online) 2012. (Cited 2012 April 3). Available from URL: http://www.studentdoc.com/usmle-step-1-tips.html.
4. Desbiens NA, Vidaillet HJ. Discrimination against international medical graduates in the United States residency program selection process. BMC Medical Education 2010; 10: 5.
5. Ejaz K, Shamim MS, Shamim MS, Hussain SA. Involvement of Medical Students and Fresh Medical Graduates of Karachi, Pakistan in Research. J Pak Med Assoc 2011; 61: 115-20.

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association has agreed to receive and publish manuscripts in accordance with the principles of the following committees: