The U21 Health Sciences Group was established in 2000 to provide Faculty within U21 member universities with a framework for exploring opportunities for collaborative projects, information exchange and sharing of resources in the area of Health Sciences.
Following a successful inaugural meeting of the U21 Deans and Heads of Medicine and Nursing in Singapore in 2000, membership expanded to include Dentistry and Health Rehabilitation Sciences (2001), Pharmacy (2004) and Public Health (2007).
In 2002, members reaffirmed the many opportunities for collaboration and sharing within and across disciplines, and it was resolved that a Secretariat would be established to facilitate a range of projects and initiatives. The Secretariatof the group is currently based at the University of British Columbia.
Annual meetings have been hosted by the University of British Columbia (2001), The University of Hong Kong (2002), the University of Glasgow (2003), The University of Queensland (2004), Lund University (2005), The University of Nottingham (2006), The University of Hong Kong (2007), the University of Virginia (2008), Tecnológico de Monterrey (2010), Korea University (2011), The University of Auckland (2012), University College Dublin (2013) and Fudan University (2014). Pontificia Catolica Universidad de Chile will host the next meeting of the group from 21 to 25 September 2015.
One of the main objectives of the group is to share knowledge and identify best practices. Each year at the annual meeting, topics that are relevant to members are discussed. Topics that have been addressed include: curriculum development, clinical education, interdisciplinary education and research, leadership in healthcare, faculty development, global standards and accreditations, patient safety, the rise of the e-patient, international exchange for students and staff, etc.
Another fundamental aspect of the group is to create collaborative interdisciplinary projects. Between 2005 and 2008, the U21 HSG funded a project to examine global e-health and a steering committee made some recommendations to establish a sustainable endeavour in global e-health. Since 2006, the U21 HSG has been working on the U21 UNMDG initiative that looks at developing an educational strategy for UN MDG (Millennium Development Goals) training for academic institutions in the U21 network. Since September 2013, the group started a new collaborative project looking at the use of Social Media for education in health across the network and will develop an inventory of exemplars and policies in place. In 2014, the U21 Health Sciences Group ran its first summer school on the theme Substance Misuse Studies: A Harm Reduction Approach. The second U21 HS Summer School will be hosted by Tecnologico de Monterrey in July 2015.
Each discipline group also works on specific projects in the areas of benchmarking, student exchange or research collaborations.
The Health Sciences group has an external website with further information about their activities: www.u21health.org