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Where is the next generation of medical educators?

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To the Editor: The thought-provoking editorial by Hu and colleagues laments the “erratic supply of medical educators”.1 Curriculum design and review, course accreditation, and student teaching and assessment at all levels require specialist expertise in education. The 17th National Prevocational Medical Education Forum, held in Perth in November 2012, revealed pressures throughout the medical education and training pipeline.

With an unprecedented increase in student numbers in response to population growth and increasing demand for doctors, particularly in general medicine and rural practice, the requirement for more medical educators is critical. Hu et al’s editorial is timely in identifying this need and in recognising medical education as an evolving specialist discipline within the medical profession. However, much of the clinical teaching in our medical schools still depends on a motivated minority of senior specialists in clinical practice who are drawn from a much larger pool of potential educators.

In Western Australia, we face significant population growth and a current shortage of up to 1000 general practitioners2 as we prepare for the establishment of the state’s third…