​Keynote Speakers


How the Community learns

Keynote Session: Tuesday 24 October 2023 14:00 - 15:00

WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed AI-Mandhari was appointed as WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean by WHO’s Executive Board at its 143rd session, and assumed office on 1 June 2018.

Dr Al-Mandhari is a native of Oman and has made a substantial positive contribution to the development and modernization of Oman’s health system, which has witnessed qualitative improvements in recent years, particularly in areas such as patient safety.

A specialist in family and community medicine, Dr Al Mandhari was head of Quality Management and Development at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital from 2005 to 2006, and Deputy Director- General for Clinical Affairs uniil 2010. From 2010 to 2013, he was Director-General of Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, and subsequently served as Director-General of the Quality Assurance Centre at the Ministry of Hearth until his election as Regional Director. Dr Al-Mandhari also worked as a senior consultant in family medicine and public health in Oman from 2009 to 2018. Dr Al-Mandhari’s research papers have been widely published and he sits on the editorial boards of several journals, including the Middle East Journal of Family Medicine. In addition, he is a reviewer for various medical journals. Throughout his career, he has been a member of various scientific and professional committees and lectured in the fields of quality management, patient safety, family medicine and public health.

Dr Al-Mandhari obtained a BSc in Health Sciences (1990), followed by an MD in Medicine and Surgery (1993) from Sultan Qaboos University in Oman. In 1996, he earned a diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom and was awarded the Royal Fellowship for Family Doctors in 1998. In 2002, he obtained a PhD in Quality Management of Health Care from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Dr Al-Mandhari oversaw the Fellowship Programme in the Department of Family and Community Medicine (FAMCO) at Sultan Qaboos University from 2003 to 2006. From 2007 to 2018, he served as a member and chair of the Higher Medical Committee which investigates medical error complaints in the Sultanate of Oman.

How Communities Learn

Community engagement has been defined as "a two-way process by which the aspirations, concerns, needs and values of citizens and communities are incorporated at all levels and in all sectors in policy development, planning, decision-making, service delivery and assessment; and by which governments and other business and civil society organisations involve citizens, clients, communities and other stakeholders in these processes".

According to this perspective, communities should play an active role in the identification of health issues and needs and the allocation of resources, and community engagement can increase participation in health interventions and their effectiveness. Community-based and people-centred programmes can increase the utilization of health services by helping to improve their acceptability, accessibility and quality, and can enhance accountability and efficiency and ensure that essential health services are maintained. They can also help to address and prevent health and gender inequities and bring affected communities together during emergencies. This is contrary to the view that communities should be passive recipients of public health services, which may diminish the acceptance and effectiveness of health interventions.

WHO's Thirteenth General Programme of Work (GPW 13) (2019-2023) is based on the SDG agenda and sets out WHO's strategic direction, outlines how the Organization will proceed with its implementation and provides a framework to measure progress in this effort. It is structured around three interconnected strategic priorities to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages: achieving universal health coverage, addressing health emergencies and promoting healthier populations. It takes an evidence-based approach to public health and recognizes that a combination of high-level political support and community engagement is needed to help achieve its vision. To achieve the ambitious goals of GPW 13, WHO recognizes the need for proactive engagement with civil society.

The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, in its strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean Region (2020-2023) to achieve Vision 2023, calls for community engagement to promote healthier populations and the strengthening of community-based action to meet the SDGs and ensure a peoplecentred approach to public health actions, including during emergencies. This may include: establishing mechanisms and regulations to ensure community engagement for integrated, people-centred health services; engagement with community enablers to promote community involvement in health, including developing context-specific strategic actions to work with community health workers, religious leaders, youth and civil society organizations; community-based interventions for newborn and child health and development; and integrating community engagement into health planning, implementation and monitoring.

This comes in line with learning communities to provide opportunities and a structure for people to be empowered and aligned around a common vision.

Innovative approaches can be implemented for equipping communities with needed knowledge and skills such as measuring and implementing different interventions for raising community awareness through promoting health literacy, mapping and building on community assets, promoting community-based actions and volunteerism.

These interventions must be complimented with assessing community needs as articulated by community members and working on providing community-centered services including health, social and developmental services.

All partners and stakeholders including community members themselves must work together to improve communities' capacity and enabling them to take control over their health and wellbeing. This comes in Eastern Mediterranean Vision "Health for All by All".


How Students learn

Keynote Session: Tuesday 24 October 2023 17:30 - 18:30

Professor of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation. Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, MD, JMHPE
Former director of the quality assurance unit (2014-2016).
Former vice dean for education and students affairs (2018-2022).
Dean of the faculty of physical therapy , Suez Canal University (2018-2022).
Vice dean for education and students affairs, faculty of medicine , Delta university for sciences and technology (2022-2023)
Member of the Center for research and development in medical education (CRD), FOM/SCU, Egypt.

How students learn?

Despite our great efforts as medical educators, students do not always reach what we hope. Indeed, we need a profound understanding of how students learn and reflect to appraise and promote our teaching practices. Generally, Students learn, through reading, listening, doing things, thinking, writing, observing, and discussing with others. They may learn in designed context such as lectures or applied sessions; in informal situations, such as reading books or searching on the Net, as well as through discussion with peers. However, using these learning methods does not explain how students really learn, or why they learn. Learning theories may be the key, they are conceptual outlines that attempt to describe the learning process. Theories may be located on a continuum with behaviorism theory at one end and radical humanistic approaches at the other. In between are Gestalt psychology, cognitive psychology, constructivist, reflective, and humanist theories. Furthermore, there are certain laws that govern the learning process such as law of readiness, law of effect, law of association, law of involvement, law of challenge, law of recency …etc. These laws apply to any student at any grade and in any subject area and rule how students use the knowledge that they acquire in the classroom. Thus, through exploring learning theories and laws, educators can understand the complex activity of learning, develop an appreciation for whether or not learning has occurred in classroom, and understand what they can do to maximize the learning possibilities for all of their students.


How Policymakers learn

Keynote Session: Wednesday 25 October 2023 09:00 - 10:00

is a visionary Canadian public intellectual with expertise in global public health research and education. She envisions and strives for Health for All on a Healthy Planet. A policy expert, she has worked within and for many governments in Canada and elsewhere.

Her research areas are integrative health approaches such as Ayurveda and yoga, and social/environmental justice-- from a feminist anti-racism decolonial lens. Speaking French, Spanish and English, she has worked in many nations as an educator within universities and other communities. She founded and leads Maternal and Infant Health Canada, a global public health collaborative aiming to improve the wellbeing of women, young ones and the environment. Harvard School of Public Health recently awarded her a mid-career fellowship, recognizing her expertise in global public health. She works as an independent consultant, faculty member at the University of British Columbia and teacher of yoga, dance, meditation and other mind-body activities. Dr Shroff is regularly featured in the media.

Dr. Farah M Shroff
Founder and Lead, Maternal and Infant Health Canada and Darya Consulting
and Harvard School of Public Health--Harvard HealthLab Board Member

Catalyzing Health for All: Promoting a Culture of Learning for Policymakers

In the aftermath of the global pandemic, policymakers face a unique opportunity to recommit to health equity. A convergence of crises–climate change, food insecurity, poverty, and violence—necessitates substantial shifts in domestic and international policy landscapes. This presentation explores health equity with an emphasis on intersectionality, illustrated by policy papers that offer lessons for shaping health policy, along with strategies for effectively translating this knowledge into practice. Acknowledging that health policies are frequently influenced by political considerations, the promising shift towards evidence-based policymaking will be highlighted. We will explore fundamental questions facing health policymakers’ learning such as How can policies meet mental and physical health challenges within the context of multiple social determinants? How can policymakers adapt health policies to promote equity in environments that may inherently hinder such progress? You are invited to actively engage in interactive dialogue as we collectively explore these inquiries and others, with the ultimate aim of charting a course toward a more equitable world where people can attain mental and physical wellbeing on a healthy planet.


How Healthcare Practitioners learn

Keynote Session: Thursday 26 October 2023 14:00 - 15:00

Dr. Jacob Imber is an internal medicine trained hospitalist at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He completed his medical school training at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2011 and completed his residency in internal medicine in 2014. During his academic career, Dr. Imber has engaged with medical education at all levels, from learner to faculty. He has extensive experience in teaching both communication and clinical skills as well as clinical reasoning using simulation and has created multiple training modules. In 2020, he accepted the position of Executive Director of the Office of Assessment & Learning for Undergraduate Medical Education at the University of New Mexico. Within this role, he provides direct oversight for assessment in all phases of the undergraduate curriculum from pre-clinical knowledge-based learning to advanced clinical skills training. He also manages and directs the standardized patient program for the university and organizes all clinical skills evaluations and Objective Structured Clinical Experiences (OSCEs). In addition to his educational efforts, Dr. Imber has participated in medical outreach activities in Kenya and Ecuador.

Healthcare providers are intelligent, skilled and motivated learners. Unlike most students, healthcare providers bring a level of experience and knowledge to the learning environment that can be both exciting and challenging for instructors. Effective learning occurs when trainee knowledge is assessed and built upon using active and engaging methods with real world applicability. Where pre-provider training focuses on the gathering of knowledge, provider training focuses on application of that knowledge and development of skills to provide care. In this talk, we will review some of the theories behind effective teaching as well as discuss methodologies for hands-on and timely learning interventions including: simulation training for skills, “just-in-time” learning, real-time/bedside learning and developing learners’ ability to perform clinical reasoning.