LKCMedicine Vice-Dean for Education Professor Jennifer Cleland has been awarded the 2022 Ian Hart Award for Innovation in Medical Education, one of three major international prizes in the field. Prof Cleland, who is also LKCMedicine’s Lead for Medical Education Research and Scholarship Unit received the award and the prize amount of S$5,000 at the Opening Ceremony of the Ottawa Conference, Lyon, France, on 27 August. The biennial prize is made possible through financial support from the Hart family.
Prof Cleland is recognised as a researcher, educator, mentor and collaborator with global influence. The award is a culmination of her 20-plus years of dedication to medical education research and capacity building.
She has made a remarkable contribution to medical education research, policy and practice in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. Her signature is in well-theorised research that translates to day-to-day educational practice. Her many articles, guides, policy documents and book chapters focus on selection and widening access to medicine, medical careers decision-making, assessment and performance. Her research has also helped shape scholarship in medical education via guidelines on the use of novel theories and methodologies, reflecting her own research.
As a mentor, Prof Cleland has nurtured a generation of PhD students, educators, scholars and leaders in Europe, Middle East, North America, Africa and Asia. Many of those she mentored and educated are now working in health education, holding senior and professorial roles. She is also recognised for her leadership in stimulating and inspiring environments for students and colleagues to develop their skills and confidence in doing and communication research. She is now building a community of educational research practice here in Singapore.
Prof Cleland participates in international networks and research and educational collaborations in the UK, Canada, the USA, Europe, Africa and Australasia. Her contributions are recognised by Honorary/Adjunct Professorial roles at numerous medical schools in Europe, Australia, the USA and Africa. Her contributions to this field have been previously recognised with various fellowships and prizes such as the President’s Medal, Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME), and the Inaugural Copenhagen Academy for Medical Education and Simulation (CAMES) Award for Best Research in Medical Simulation 2016.
Commenting on her Prize, Prof Cleland said, “I’m deeply honoured and thrilled to be recognised for this prize. Professionally, it’s a huge recognition of the work that I do together with my wonderful collaborators and the impact it has made. From a more personal perspective, I’m very proud to be the first woman to win this prestigious prize.
I started in medical education as an adjunct lecturer. Although I have a PhD and other research training and experience, research was not part of my job. However, I have always been interested in learning about the world around me and I don’t accept the status quo easily. I like to question, explore and investigate, gather different data types and use them to understand phenomena and inform change. Basically, I love research! I was fortunate in having my enthusiasm and expertise acknowledged and encouraged by my then-Deans and other senior colleagues at the University of Aberdeen, and I soon shifted into a research leadership role ultimately building the largest unit in my field in the UK.
The Ian R Hart Award is for an individual’s contribution. But it is not just my sole effort that has brought me here. Winning this award would not have been possible without my colleagues, some of whom I have worked with now for far more years than any of us wish to remember!
I believe collegiality and supporting others are key to success in medical education. Ian R Hart exemplified these qualities during his career, and I hope I emulate him in some small way.”