Dr Hj Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi, academic consultant and dean at the Institute of Medicine, is expected to announce details of the institute's plans to expand its undergraduate courses to include nursing, biomedical and life sciences, physiotherapy, physician assistant, nutrition and dietetics and paramedics at the institute's two-day second annual academic session today, according to sources from UBD.
The institute, which was established in 2000, currently offers degree courses in biomedical science, biological science, health science as well as medicine and surgery.
Dato Paduka Dr Hj Ismail Hj Duraman, vice-chancellor of UBD, said he hoped that discussions to provide degree level courses to train nurses, physiotherapists and medical laboratory technologists would eventually lead to favourable outcomes.
The Institute of Medicine has a potentially important role to play in the training of allied health professionals, he said during the opening of the annual academic session yesterday.
He stated that the institution has developed partnerships with well-known universities and professional bodies overseas to develop its teaching programmes.
"At present, the medical students are taught for two or three years in Brunei before proceeding for more clinical studies to the overseas medical school partners," he said.
International recognition and collaborations with partners in research and training are needed for the institute, so that the whole training would be conducted in Brunei Darussalam, he added.
The annual academic session, themed "Cultivating Research Talents through Interdisciplinary Collaborations", is aimed at exploring new findings in basic and clinical medical sciences and other areas in health.
Dato Dr Hj Ismail said this year's theme emphasised two aspects of a dynamic medical school, including research to further knowledge and collaborative links to stay informed with the latest developments in medical education and research.
He said that the Institute of Medicine is also a relevant place that provides the required educational and research facilities for health practitioners in the public sector.
"Scientists and clinicians in the government sector, for example, hospitals, are interested in research but may lack the required facilities and training," he said.
"One practical way to expand collaboration is to develop joint appointments, not only for Ministry of Health staff to work at the institute, but also for the institute's staff to have joint appointments in hospitals where their expertise will be valuable," he added.
The vice chancellor also stated that information dissemination and communication is vital to strengthen collaboration among health professionals.
"The importance of good communication should not be underestimated. Better communication and building professional relationships can pay unexpected dividends," he said.
The Brunei Times