Over the last three decades, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has experienced a dramatic improvement in economic status. Health services have developed to an even greater extent, as indicated by accessibility and coverage indicators. Similarly, there also have been improvements in health indicators such as mortality, morbidity, and life expectancy. However, national health manpower development is not coping with the momentum and attendant growth. Saudis make up only 19% of workers in the health sector. This figure is extremely low when compared to other sectors such as education and agriculture. Expanding and changing medical education and medical practice is imperative in order to produce healthcare professionals in the needed quantities and quality, at the right times and in the right places.
The existing curricula of many medical schools in Saudi Arabia follow traditional approaches, which deliver knowledge through fragmented and non-integrated avenues. Instead of being community-oriented, they are teacher-oriented and force students into passive roles. Such institutions produce students who opt to work only in urban areas, contributing further to the poor distribution of stable national health personnel and services throughout the Kingdom. Alfaisal University medical college located in the capital city of Riyadh, responds to all these challenges. The college follows an innovative approach in the education of health professionals, including problem-based learning and community-based education.
The Alfaisal College of Medicine follows a problem-based, self-directed curriculum, in which patients’ clinical scenarios and problems are studied from multiple standpoints. Problem-based learning is integrated with appropriate clinical skills training and community-based experiences. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking and problem solving.
The main goal of the undergraduate program is to train students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, skilled in sensing, formulating, and managing common health problems. In doing so, graduates are being better prepared to expand their competencies in any career and in any discipline. Graduate Programs and Research will ensure higher education at an international level that will distinguish the university as research based and working towards dissemination of knowledge.
The mission of the Alfaisal College of Medicine is to prepare its students for meeting and responding to the changing healthcare needs and expectations of the Saudi Arabian community. This is being achieved in full partnership with other healthcare providers and relevant sectors in the community.
Prof. Khaled Al-Kattan, Dean, College of Medicine