Agha Khan University Sets up Rs. 1.6 Billion Center for Innovation

The Aga Khan University has set up Center for Innovation in Medical Education (CIME), a state-of-the-art facility for technology-based learning for health professionals, at the cost of Rs. 1.6 billion ($15 million).

CIME’s mission is to transform the education of health professionals through the use of simulation and virtual reality technology to develop knowledge and skills before treating patients.

“The centre aims to raise the bar for teaching and learning and to thereby deliver higher standards of practice across the professions of medicine, nursing and allied health,” said CIME Director Dr Charles Docherty. “We seek to become a strategic asset for Pakistan and the region that is at the forefront of efforts to raise the standard of healthcare.”

Learning from other such centres around the world, CIME supports student-centred problem-based and team-based learning. Students and professionals from different disciplines work together on real-life patient simulations. For example, nurses and doctors can practice responding to a situation in which a patient stops breathing, using a high-tech mannequin that responds as a real patient would respond. Afterwards, they can watch a video of themselves and analyse their performance.

“Using the latest technology in simulation, whilst being guided by our faculty, makes for a more effective learning environment for students, by converting high-risk, high-reward scenarios into zero-risk, high-reward scenarios,” said Ibrahim Habib, a third-year medical student at AKU.

High-speed communications technology allows video connectivity throughout CIME and with international experts, offering a truly ‘global classroom’, with students able to learn from specialists anywhere in the world in real-time. This same connectivity allows CIME to work with remote and rural populations within Pakistan and neighbouring countries to expand access to quality healthcare.

“In everything we do, as our Chancellor says, ‘we must look to the future, seeking always to think creatively, to innovate and to improve,’” said AKU President Firoz Rasul. “Technology-enabled learning has the potential to transform how we prepare students and professionals to face society’s most pressing issues. By giving today’s health professionals the most advanced facilities to work and learn together at CIME, we give them the best chance of becoming leaders capable of solving tomorrow’s healthcare challenges.”

“AKU has been the recipient of significant philanthropic support,” he added. “That support has enabled us to launch important new ventures, build new facilities and achieve ever-higher standards. We are very grateful to our donors for their extraordinary generosity.”

The donor-funded centre comprises three buildings – the Mariyam Bashir Dawood Building, the Ibn Sina Building and the Shiraz Boghani Building. The centre offers multi-purpose teaching spaces, high-fidelity simulators, and specialty environments such as the phantom-head dental lab, a cardiac catheterisation lab and telemedicine clinics.