Advancing careers in medical education: 'Practice architectures' for success in a resource-constrained setting

A.M. Olupeliyawa*, W.C.Y. Hu, R.E. Stalmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

76 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Advancement of careers in medical education remains a challenge around the world and is under-researched in resource-constrained contexts. Using the Theory of Practice Architectures (TPA) as a conceptual lens, we investigated the emergence and subsequent development of medical education careers in a resource-constrained country.Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 14 early-career and leading medical educators from all 9 medical schools and the 1 postgraduate institute in Sri Lanka. Thematic analysis was performed, informed by the three conceptual lenses of TPA: discursive-cultural, material-economic, and socio-political.Results: Three themes were identified: faculty development as a career-building discourse (discursive-cultural); leadership focused on creating a workforce with expertise in medical education, equal to clinical medicine specialties (material-economic); and collaborative professional networks in health professions education originating from faculty development activities (socio-political).Conclusion: Using TPA, our findings highlight that faculty development can foster a powerful discourse for promoting academic careers in medical education. Medical education leaders can also play a critical role by establishing formal training programmes in medical education, and collaborative professional networks can improve visibility of careers in medical education, particularly when participants share expertise and resources between institutions and health professions, across the continuum of undergraduate to postgraduate training. TPA can also be used to better understand how cultural, material-economic and socio-political factors can enhance or hinder career development in different contexts, whether resource-limited or well-resourced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-888
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number8
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2021


  • Staff development
  • international medical education
  • teacher training

Cite this