An exploration of crossborder medical curriculum partnerships: Balancing curriculum equivalence and local adaptation

Dominique G. J. Waterval*, Janneke M. Frambach, Andrea Oudkerk Pool, Erik W. Driessen, Albert J. J. A. Scherpbier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Context: Worldwide, medical schools have entered into crossborder curriculum partnerships (CCPs) to provide equivalent curricula and learning experiences to groups of geographically separated students. Paradoxically, this process also involves adaptation of curricula to suit local contexts. This study has focused on challenges faced by medical Crossborder curriculum programme directors and strategies they employed to overcome these.Methods: We conducted a qualitative study on six CCPs using document analysis and semi-structured interviews with 13 programme directors from 12 medical schools. Interview transcripts were coded iteratively, followed by cross-case analysis.Results: The challenges faced by CCP programme directors are four-fold, springing from differences in health care systems, legislation and political interference, teaching and learning environments, and partnership. Deliberate strategies, such as intensifying interactions between partners in all academic echelons, can help to overcome these. Partnerships vary in their setup and collaboration strategy.Conclusion: Medical CCPs are challenging though seem feasible. Partnerships with more solid integration of academic operations appear robust in terms of ownership and provide, besides financial, also academic advantages to both institutions. However, more research is needed on the long-term effects on quality of graduates and impact on the host health care system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-262
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016

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