Training physicians in Malaysia

Image caption: Toby Sinton, Medicine Clerkship director, on bedside rounds with students.


"The Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine is the first U.S.-style medical program in Malaysia, and the Perdana Hospital will be the first private teaching hospital in the country. Each of our students has completed an undergraduate degree and has chosen to pursue an MD through a program inspired by the Johns Hopkins Genes to Society curriculum. The mission is to train mature, well-rounded physicians who will become Malaysian, and world, leaders in medicine.

"I arrived here in July to serve as director of the PUGSOM Genes to Society course that runs in the first two years, and to help establish clinical clerkships for the third-year students. My wife, Mary, and our children, Violet, 7, and Tyler, 5, have joined me on this adventure. It was a difficult decision to leave behind my clinical practice, teaching responsibilities, and laboratory research, as well as our friends and family, in Baltimore. However, the opportunity to help build a new clinical clerkship program, further develop the GTS course, and participate in the design and construction of PUGSOM's teaching hospital seemed like a unique and remarkable professional opportunity, and one I couldn't pass up.

"So far, we have had an amazing experience. The faculty is a unique blend of Malaysian and foreign physicians who have been recruited from Johns Hopkins and other prominent institutions across the world. They helped my family feel at home in Kuala Lumpur from the moment of our arrival.

"But it is the students and patients who have made me feel the most at home. Even though I do not yet speak Bahasa Malaya, and the epidemiology of the hospital is different from Baltimore's—there are more insect-borne diseases, such as dengue fever—watching the students interact with their patients on Ward 26 has been a reminder of what I love about being a physician: the opportunity to learn something new every day, and the privilege of sharing in the most intimate details of our patients' lives.

"A good day is one where the line between my role as teacher and learner is blurred. So far, every day has been a good one."

Brian T. Garibaldi is an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and director of the Genes to Society program at the Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia