eHEALTH BureauThere is an urgent need to constitute an autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament with the twin objectives of promoting and regulating medical education at all levels, was the key point of observation that came up in the memorial lecture of Prof G Ram Reddy, delivered by Prof MVS Valiathan, a reputed cardiac surgeon and winner of the Padma Vibhushan.The Lecture was presided over the Indira Gandhi National Open University Vice Chancelor Professor VN Rajasekharan Pillai. It was telecast live on Gyan Darshan and the live webcast was also made available on the IGNOU website as well. IGNOU’s Prof G Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture series was instituted in 1996 in the memory of Prof G Ram Reddy, IGNOU’s founder Vice Chancellor. The former speakers have been Dr RA Mashelkar,, Dr G Madhava Nair, Prof Yashpal, Shri Kiran Karnik and other eminent personalities.”At the Government level, discussions are in progress to set up a National Body by an Act of Parliament, which would preside over the promotive and regulatory aspects of medical education,” said Prof Valiathan, at the 15th Prof. G. Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture at the Indira Gandhi National Open University(IGNOU). He was speaking on the topic,” Medical Education in the melting Pot”.According to him, National Commission on Medical Education (NCME) should be an autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament with the twin objectives of promoting and regulating medical education at all levels. Its power should be similar to those of the National Commission on Higher Education as proposed in a Bill being considered by the Parliament and should be headed by an eminent medical educationist whose contributions as an academician, investigator, and administrator who possess a national recognition. NCME should have 8-10 active members who represent biological sciences, pre/para/ and clinical sciences of medicine, public health, sociology and technology, put up Prof Valiathan in his lecture.He further stressed that for making the best possible nominations, the Government should ask for panels of experts in these disciplines from the National Academies of Science, Medicine, Engineering and ICSSR, who should be taken into confidence on the importance of NCME, its role in shaping medical education, and in due course, standards of health care and quality of medical research in India. “The members of NCME should have a term of five years. NCME should have its performance uated by an Independent Committee appointed by the Parliament every ten years. NCME should be accomplished through two committees, Committee for promotion of Medical Education and Committee for regulation of Medical Education”, he added.Further to that, Prof Valiathan enumerated the reasons for the neglect of Medical education and the poor quality of medical education in the country, ” MCI, which was as much a promotive as a regulatory body, failed to bring about any important innovation in medical education which was beset with a host of problems in India”.Speaking on the major challenges for medical education, Prof Valiathan said that the progressive isolation or insularisation which is happening in Medicine, has many drastic consequences. Even a physician whose education is so narrowly specialised that he is unable to discuss a medical problem with a chemist, physicist, biologist, engineer, or even a historian in an intelligible manner can hardly hope to be creative or innovative. Those who frame the curriculum and training programmes of medical students should make them aware that medicine is a part of man’s civilisational heritage and no more than a segment of the domain of knowledge which a University represents, opined Prof Valiathan.The eminent Professor further elucidated on the subject of the neglect of public health in medical education and health care delivery and its consequences. He stressed on the urgent need for medical students to be taught degree of familiarity with these topics which represent the advancing frontiers of medicine, like genetic engineering and technology of electronics, computer science, materials science, and other engineering sciences.