A pilot study to identify quality criteria for community -based medical education in Hong Kong


  • Weng Yee Chin The University of Hong Kong
  • Janice Johnston The University of Hong Kong
  • Cindy Lam The University of Hong Kong
  • Annie Cheung The University of Hong Kong


Community-based learning, Community-based medical education, Quality criteria, Quality assurance



To better prepare students for the health needs of society, there is pressure on medical svhools to provide greater learning opportunities in the community. On challenge is the on-going quality assurance of these programs. Before setting benchmark standards for quality evaluation, a relevant set of criteria must first be defined. the aim of this study was to identify a locally relevant set of quality criteria for assuring undergraduate medical community-based learning in Hong Kong


An audit of the MBBS curriculum was undertaken to identify all eligible community-based learning activities and to obtain information regarding learning objectives, assessments and quality assurance methods. Semi-structured interviews with program coordinators were conducted to explore their perceptions reagrding factors influencing the educational quality of their courses. Interviews were taped, transcripbed and contents thematically analyzed.


10 program coordinators, representing 14 of the 18 eligible programs were interviewed. 59 items were identified and classifed as structural, process or outcome criteria. Physical cahracteritsing of the learning sites such as size, and accessibility, attributes of the teachers, adequate resourcing for community-based leasrning and stability of community partnerships emergeed as key criteria affecting student learning, whilst professionalism and community-based values towards learning or working in community settings and towards service utilization emerged as key outcomes.


Community-based learning in Hong Kong has unique challenges whicih require close attention. In order ro ensure the sustainability of the programs, effforts are needed to indentify ways to nurture and maintain realtaionships with community partners with reciprocal benefits.


Author Biographies

Weng Yee Chin, The University of Hong Kong

Assistant Professor

Department of Family Medicine & Primary Care; and

Institute for Medical and Health Sciences Education

Janice Johnston, The University of Hong Kong

Associate Professor

School of Public Health

Cindy Lam, The University of Hong Kong


Department of Family Medicine & primary Care

Annie Cheung, The University of Hong Kong


Department of Pathology


Habbick, BF, Leeder, SR. Orienting medical education to community need: a review. Medical Education 1996;30:163-71.

GMC. Tomorrow's Doctors: Recommendations on Undergraduated Medical Curriculum. London: General Medical Council, 1993.

Murray, E, Modell, M. Community-based teaching: the challenges. British Journal of General Practice 1999;49:395-98.

Lau, CS, editor. Celebrating 120 years of Medical Education. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2006.

Worley, P, Silagy, C, Prideaux, D, et al. The Parallel Rural Community Curriculum: an integrated clinical curriculum based in rural general practice. Medical Education 2000;34(7):558-65.

Leung, GM, Fielding, R, Chan, M-F, et al. The development and evaluation of an integrated community-based, patient-centred learning activity at the University of Hong Kong. Medical Education 2002;36:992-95.

Bowen, JL, Stearns, JA, Dohner, C, et al. Defining and evaluating quality for ambulatory care educational programs. Academic Medicine 1997;72(6):506-10.

Sutkin, G, Wagner, E, Harris, I, et al. What Makes a Good Clinical Teacher in Medicine? A Review of the Literature. Academic Medicine 2008;83(5):452-66 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31816bee61.

Cotton, P, Sharp, D, Howe, A, et al. Developing a set of quality criteria for community-based medical education in the UK. Education for Primary Care 2009;20(3):143-51.

Kennedy, EM. Beyond vertical integration Community based medical education. Australian Family Physician 2006;35(11):901-03.

Shipengrover, JA, James, PA. Measuring instructional quality in community-orientated medical education: looking into the black box. Medical Education 1999;33:846-53.

Marahatta, SB. Community based medical education: prospects and challenges. Kathmandu University Medical Journal 2009;7(27):194-95.

Lam, TP, Lam, BYY. Medical Education Reform: The Asian Experience. Academic Medicine 2009;84(9):1313-17 10.097/ACM.0b013e3181b18189.

Bowen, JL, Irby, DM. Assessing quality and costs of education in the ambulatory setting: a review of the literature. Academic Medicine 2002;77(7):621-80.

Magzoub, ME, Schmidt, HG. A taxonomy of community-based medical education. Academic Medicine 2000;75(7):699-707.

Howe, A. Twelve tips for community-based medical education. Medical Teacher 2002;24(1):9-12.

Kristina, TN, Majoor, GD, van der Vleuten, CPM. Defining generic objectives for community-based education in undergraduate medical programmes. Medical Education 2004;38(5):510-21.




How to Cite

Chin, W. Y., Johnston, J., Lam, C., & Cheung, A. (2014). A pilot study to identify quality criteria for community -based medical education in Hong Kong. Asian Journal of Education and E-Learning, 2(5). Retrieved from https://ajouronline.com/index.php/AJEEL/article/view/1788