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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 164-165

Time to move from classroom to community: Reorientation of Medical Education (ROME)

Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India

Date of Web Publication25-Oct-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Amit Kumar Mishra
Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Kalapet, Puducherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_71_17

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How to cite this article:
Mishra AK. Time to move from classroom to community: Reorientation of Medical Education (ROME). J Med Soc 2018;32:164-5

How to cite this URL:
Mishra AK. Time to move from classroom to community: Reorientation of Medical Education (ROME). J Med Soc [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Oct 26];32:164-5. Available from:


The 48th World Health Assembly recommends a change in medical education pattern and need of more appropriate education methods, research-oriented education, and service delivery.[1] Community-based teaching has been conceived with the understanding that healthcare is not limited within the walls of a tertiary teaching institute.[2] In our country, community-based teaching is mainly managed by the Department of Community Medicine. There is no specific teaching/training session on research methodology for undergraduate (UG) medical students. The discussions on epidemiology are confined to the classrooms and mainly examination oriented. If in the same settings of community-based teaching for students, research methodology is also incorporated, it will serve the purpose of both community teaching (gaining knowledge and clinical skills) and training on research methodology.[3]

To follow the recommendations of the 48th World Health Assembly, Reorientation of Medical Education (ROME) posting has been conducted by the Department of Community Medicine, PIMS every year since 2004. The VI semester students have been posted in the department every year for a complete month (January or February of every year). The whole batch of UG students, interns, postgraduate students, and faculty were divided into four groups, and a specific identified health issue of the serving community was allotted to each group. A 2 days' research methodology workshop was organized; on the 1st day, the objective was to train the students on research methodology, and next day, the discussion was on group-specific objectives of the allotted health issue. For the year 2017 the ROME posting was from January 4th to January 28th, but the orientation, group planning and preparation of proforma was started well in advance in the month of December 2016 [Chart 1].

For better understanding, on the concept of ROME posting, only the activity of one of the groups has been discussed in this communication. The health issue identified for the concerned group was “Selected Micronutrient Deficiency among Pre-School Children.” The objectives were to find the prevalence and determinants of selected micronutrient deficiency such as Vitamin A, iron, and iodine, among preschool (3–5 years) children. The list of all preschool children in the service area was prepared from the Community Hospital Information Management System maintained at the RHTC. House-to-house survey was done as per the prepared list to include all the preschool children in the study area. During the data collection and physical examination, if any child was identified with any disease, the child was referred to the nearest health center with the caretaker for proper treatment.

One of the interesting parts of teaching and training the UG students on micronutrient deficiency was involvement of “Department of Food Science and Technology,” Pondicherry University. The 24-h food samples were collected from few micronutrient deficient participant households, and micronutrient analysis was done at the Department of Food Sciences and Technology Laboratory. The UG students were trained beforehand on the procedure of food sample collection by the faculty and PhD students of the concerned department. To assess the iodine content of the common salts, students used the MBI kit on the spot and reported the concentration of iodine in the data collection sheet.

Every day, the students ensured that the data collected on the same day were entered in the EpiData software. After the data collection, the group was divided into subgroups for scientific report writing and Information, Education, and Communication material preparation. After proper preparation for the intervention phase, the students with the help of medical social workers, interns, postgraduate students, and faculty, organized health camps at the study area. Students also conducted awareness activities such as rally, role play, drama, and health talk.

At the end of the posting, students prepared a scientific voluminous report of their work for the dissemination of the study findings which was submitted to the Institute Research Committee for record and perusal. Each group of students also shared their study finding in the Institute during Continue Medical Education sessions.

The ROME posting is one of the examples of “Learning by Doing,” all the initiatives and activities are always from the students' side. In ROME posting, students not only gain knowledge about the concern topic/health issues but also learn clinical skills, research methodology, teamwork, problem-solving, and at the end, they will feel/understand the actual health status of the community members at the community itself. Community-based teaching/learning is always a better learning experience for the UG students as per the feedback received from them as compared to regular classroom teachings.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Assembly Official Records. WHA48.8 Reorientation of Medical Education and Medical Practice for Health for All. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Jul 25].  Back to cited text no. 1
Shewade HD, Jeyashree K, Kalaiselvi S, Palanivel C, Panigrahi KC. Assessment of community-based training of medical undergraduates: Development and validation of a competency-based questionnaire. Educ Health (Abingdon) 2016;29:244-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Aggarwal S. Research oriented medical education in India. Indian J Med Res 2010;131:590.  Back to cited text no. 3
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