gms | German Medical Science

GMS Journal for Medical Education

Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

ISSN 2366-5017

Future Potential of the GMA-Committees and Regional Groups

editorial medicine

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  • corresponding author Thorsten Schäfer - Ruhr-University Bochum, Centre of Medical Education, Bochum, Germany; Chairman of the Advisory Board of the GMA, Bochum, Germany

GMS Z Med Ausbild 2012;29(5):Doc73

doi: 10.3205/zma000843, urn:nbn:de:0183-zma0008434

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Received: November 11, 2012
Revised: November 11, 2012
Accepted: November 12, 2012
Published: November 15, 2012

© 2012 Schäfer.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


Annual meetings of a scientific society with its symposia, workshops and poster sessions may be highlights for exchange and provide welcome opportunities to question the relevance of one's own knowledge and skills. In areas that evolve rapidly in theory and practice, these sporadic occasions are hardly sufficient, however. Medical education in the broadest sense is one of the rapidly developing areas of both the theory, the legal framework as well as the teaching, learning and assessment practice.

The Association for Medical Education (Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung, GMA) takes this into account with two very effective tools: An important part of the Society’s work is done in the committees and in the regional groups. At present the members can take part in 21 committees:

GMA committees for accreditation and certification, gender, diversity and career, inter-professional education in the health professions, integrative medicine and pluralism, young teachers, communication and social skills, methodology of educational research, new media in medical education, emergency medicine and simulation, human- and organizational development for teaching, practical skills, primary care, assessment, simulated patients, selection of students, students as teachers, veterinary medicine, advancement of medical education and its regulations, and dentistry. Other committees are in preparation. There are also six GMA regional groups: Erlangen, Meuse-Rhine, Heidelberg, Munich, Ruhr and Tübingen. They serve as a meeting point for exchange, cooperation and networking as well as the collegial consultation.

Future opportunities and risks lie close to each other: The GMA is an increasingly interdisciplinary and inter-professional society with large, common intersection, but also with group-specific topics. This can be seen in the denominations of the committees: some are disciplines, most of them are thematically oriented. Especially the latter provide a great opportunity to learn from each other beyond one’s own horizon, share experiences and learn new things. Interdisciplinary and inter-professional exchange in particular sometimes requires patience and understanding on issues that are not directly in one’s own focus. This partly inhomogeneous cooperation needs to be tolerated, cultivated, and optimized. The committees will document their activities, results and future plans regularly. In discussions with the Society’s Advisory and Executive Boards synergies and redundancies are analyzed in order to specify the future tasks of the committees. The committees’ reports are available on the GMA websites.

Another challenge lies in the non-binding nature of the work in the committees. It became evident in the past that members’ fluctuations especially are a great hindrance in the preparation of position and focus papers and can also diminish the potential of the committees. Besides the appeal of continuous participation in the open committees, the GMA Executive Board will employ temporary working groups with solid employee base in addition to committees for special tasks on time.

The regional groups of the GMA have the potential of self-reinforcing feedback: with the establishment of regional groups with workshops, symposia and informal meetings the commitment to teaching finds a focal point, which contributes to improved awareness, appreciation and advancement of teaching. Therefore, the investment in the existing groups or the initiation of new groups is warmly recommended.

With the amendment of the licensing regulations for doctors and dentists, the introduction of academic studies in the health professions, the development and implementation of the national competency-based catalog of learning objectives, and progress in best evidence in education there is a wide range of task areas in which the potential of GMA members can and must develop. With their committees and regional groups, the GMA has created best conditions for this work. As an offer and an invitation at the same time the Society’s websites provide detailed information on the committees and regional groups, showing the prepared position papers and give contact information if you are interested to participate.

Competing interests

The author declare that he has no competing interests.