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When World Health Medical School Founder Dr. David Hall traveled to Africa in 1972, he was deeply struck by the widespread signs of entrenched human hardship.  Every day, poverty-stricken children and adults approached him, desperate to sell anything they could to a comparatively affluent foreigner. But it was obvious to Dr. Hall that even trucks full of money would do little long term to ameliorate the suffering he was witnessing. Like so many others who’ve traveled halfway around the world – and a universe away from the comforts of a Western home – Dr. Hall struggled with a sense of helplessness and a desire to improve the lives of the people he met.

Poverty. Illiteracy. Homelessness. Disease. In Africa, both the degree and the inevitable results of social dysfunction seemed obvious and overwhelming. But as Dr. Hall reflected on the problems he’d observed in his travels, he realized that many of the same problems existed in the United States… and that at home, just as in Africa, money was an incomplete solution. To make a lasting difference, it would be necessary to address the roots – not just the results – of social dysfunction.

Over the years that followed, Dr. Hall narrowed his focus on these roots to societal failures in three primary areas: communication, education, and health care.  He came to see that these areas are intertwined and interdependent – that a weakness in any one contributed to inevitable breakdowns in the others. For example, the need for people to live near their physical workplace restricts the ability to hire the best staff. The requirement for expansive physical campuses and complex support structures is an obstacle to creating traditional medical schools. The burden placed on those schools to inculcate the vast language and factual basis of medicine robs them of the ability to focus on student character and competency – and limits the number of doctors they can produce. The inadequate number of trained doctors is a bottleneck to providing affordable health care.    

But today, the Internet carves paths around these bottlenecks. It is becoming technologically possible for anyone to work – and learn – from virtually anywhere, anytime. And this makes it possible to truly rethink and restructure the way we communicate, educate, and deliver health care.

What if specialized medical education didn’t have to stay locked inside brick-and-mortar universities with only limited space for students? What if traditional medical schools were freed to focus more on building the “whole doctor” than on imparting medical facts? What if the daunting volumes of unfamiliar information facing medical students could be packaged and presented in a way that insured rather than inhibited absorption?   

What if a virtual medical school and a system of accelerated learning could help institutional schools increase the number and quality of doctors – and the availability of affordable, competent health care – in the United States… in Africa… and worldwide? 

This is the vision of Dr. Hall – a vision now shared by a number of dedicated doctors, writers, and technology experts.  

And it is the premise – and the promise – of World Health Medical School.

 

 
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