From June 20-25, 2016, NOSM and Flinders University School of Medicine jointly welcomed international delegates from more than 12 countries to ICEMEN 2016 in the beautiful city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. ICEMEN 2016 provided an enriching opportunity for nearly 350 researchers, educators, administrators, students, and health professionals to ask questions of common relevance, share what they know, and learn from one another.

Community-engagement in health professional education—the unifying interest for those gathered at ICEMEN 2016—is proving hugely successful in improving access to health care in rural and remote areas around the world. As with any developing field, successful strategies are still evolving in the world of community-engaged health professional education, with new questions emerging all the time. The conference set out to equip global advocates of community engagement and social accountability with fresh perspectives and renewed excitement to continue to make local progress on an international movement for health equity.

During the conference, participants heard many inspiring presentations on distributed, community-engaged health professional education. Exciting keynote presenters included:

  • Björg Pálsdóttir, who spoke about social accountability and whether or not current advances in the field have had a substantive positive change;
  • Dr. Rachel Ellaway, who spoke about the role of moral agency in social accountability and scholarship;
  • Dr. Suwit Wibulpolprasert, who spoke about the importance of rural health care and the dynamic and changing world of medicine and rural medicine;
  • Dr. Marie Wilson, who spoke about the role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its role in healing Canada’s colonial past; and,
  • Dr. Aurel Schofield, who spoke about the importance of providing French-language health services in the minority communities.

In addition to the stimulating keynote presentations, participants engaged in more than 130 thought provoking workshops, podium presentations, and PeArLS (Personally Arranged Learning Sessions). All sessions related to one of the six conference themes: community-engagement; social accountability; community-based research; health professional education; cultural perspectives on Indigenous and global health; and, Indigenous research.