The teaching cooperation between MUI (Medical University Innsbruck) and SUT (Suranaree University of Technology Medical School in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand) was initiated in 2006, just 1 year after the Medical Studies Programme at SUT was implemented and SUT was in search for special teaching input from abroad. Since 2007, a – what we called – an „Integrated Endocrinology Teaching Week“ was organized at SUT by Dr. Sanong Suksaweang and Dr. Siegfried Schwarz. Travel expenses were covered by ASEA UNINET. This cooperation was formalized by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2011 and renewed in 2017 between these 2 universities. In 2017, a similar program and cooperation was initiated by Dr. Schwarz with Mae Fah Luang University (MFU) in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
„Integrated“ reflected the idea that students should receive a holistic knowledge of a certain endocrinological disease. This was achieved by:
- a POL (problem-based learning) case with a genetic disease called CAH (congenital adrenal hyperplasia) in which symptoms, diagnostic procedures and (life-long) therapeutic approaches are discussed.
- a venipuncture practicum in which students learn how to perform practically the drawing of a blood sample from patients in which hormones have to be measured.
- a laboratory practicum in which students learn how to perform practically an EIA (enzyme immuno assay) for the hormone cortisol (which is pathologically low in the blood of CAH patients and therefore a diagnostic marker)
- a molecular modelling practicum in which students learn how to use a molecular modelling software with which the 3D structure of a protein that is involved in this disease can be generated on the computer and into which the mutated amino acid can be mapped in order to anticipate visually what consequences a „wrong“ amino acid would have for the (loss of) functioning of this protein. At the end of this course, students were encouraged to perform a homework for 30 other (mutated) proteins and diseases which they will present a few days later in front of the class and the teachers.
- The 5th day of this teaching week was reserved for a „academic visitation“ of Dr. Suksaweang and Dr. Schwarz at one of the SUT-affiliated provincial hospitals in Buriram or Surin or Chaiyaphum, in which SUT medical students have to perform their clinical studies. Students freely describe their experiences which Dr. Suksaweang reports to the Dean, for further improvement.
In some years, this teaching week was held twice (the second one called Integrated Hematology Week dealing with a genetic disease called Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura).
In 2020, this Teaching week was held for the 16th time, however – due to the SARS CoV2 pandemia – not in real presence of Dr. Schwarz. Instead, a Zoom connection was built up between Dr. Schwarz and the Medical students in the lecture hall at SUT. This worked quite well. However, teaching in real presence is certainly preferable: questions can be answered more easily, more frequently, interaction and feedback is better, etc. – Instead of a clinical case, Dr. Schwarz gave a long lecture on the epidemiology, structure, life cycle, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches on this new virus.
At the end of the lecture on Dec. 3, Dean Sukij Pampimanas expressed his thanks for the continuation of this teaching cooperation and wrote on Dec. 4, 2020.
Dear Prof. Schwarz
Thank you so much for your very informative and excellent lecture to not only our students but also all faculties.
I hope to meet you next year without any pandemic virus and no need to wear a mask all the time.
Wishing you good health
Report by Siegfried Schwarz, Prof. (ret.) of Pathophysiology, Medical University Innsbruck, Dec.4, 2020
Please see here for the Timetable of SUT Teaching Week 2020. An overview of the history of the Teaching Week cooperation can be downloaded here:
- Date Dezember 9, 2020
- Tags Medicine
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