Archive | Interview with Dr. Jawad Behbehani, Chairman of KIMS

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    KU-Med

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    Interview with Dr. Jawad Behbehani, Chairman of KIMS
    By: Lateefa Al-Kharafi
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    What is KIMS and what does it do?
    KIMS stands for Kuwait Institute for Medical Specialties. It's a joint body organized by Ministry of Health and Kuwait University Health Science Center. The board of trustees is appointed by the Minister of Health. Usually there are equivalent representatives between the MOH and the Health Science Center. The chairman of that committee is the minister of health. In addition, there are medically related trustees, such as, ex-minister, ex-dean, or ex-chairman. The Secretary General of KIMS is responsible for the day to day issues. Each discipline has a faculty, for example faculty of medicine, surgery, pediatrics, dentistry, pathology, radiology … and etc. The structure of each faculty is a chairman and members of the board, where the chairman suggests the faculty members to be appointed by the board of trustees.

    KIMS is responsible for continues education and specialty postgraduate activities in Kuwait and outside. It writes rules and regulation organizing the post-graduate education. This includes the dental schools where scholars complete their studies, the eligibility requirements for a scholarship .. etc. At the beginning the Faculty of Dentistry Kuwait University scholarships were granted only to non-clinical specialties such as pathology, anatomy, and biochemistry; while the staff members with clinical specialty were selected from specialist dentists who completed their studies with KIMS and MOH. However, FOD, KU began sending graduates in clinical scholarships later on.

    What are the student eligibility requirements for a scholarship?
    The GPA should not be below B- and a TOFEL of 550. Students can apply and not have a score of 550, but they should have the 550 before starting the scholarship. For the USA scholarships, passing the National board part A and B would be helpful. Similarly, passing the MFDS part 1 and 2 would help in the chances of having a scholarship to UK. However, this would help but it's not mandatory.

    How may graduates apply, and how are they selected for the program?
    After being appointed by the MOH, 1 year rotation internship is mandatory. Each applicant should have a file and a request for the desired specialty. When the MOH approves it, it's sent to KIMS be reviewed and approved. Files are sent to Washington, USA Cultural Division where they will be sent to the approved universities for the candidates. Majority of applicants had applied directly to the universities. Most of the applicants who got their scholarships were interviewed and had the universities acceptances.

    Can a graduate apply for the scholarships before the year of rotation? What about after working for years in the Ministry?
    A graduate can apply directly to schools, but KIMS won't open a file until very close to the end of the year of rotation. Those who worked for years after graduation can also apply for file and get the acceptance.

    Which countries are preferred for scholars?
    Scholarships are usually to USA, UK, and Canada. Recently, some scholarships have been awarded to dental schools in Australia, Germany, and Sweden.

    What post-graduate scholarships specialties are currently available? And which are preferred?
    All specialties are available. The MOH had reservations for periodontology and prosthodontics for a while, but scholarships for these specialties had been resumed. Preferences depend on MOH needs.

    How many scholarships are available each year? Does it correspond to the increasing number of Kuwaiti graduates?
    Based on the need and what they have. It's used to be 20 scholarships per year for the ministry of health. The Civil Service Commission gives 80 posts to MOH. and from that number 20 is for dentistry. It used to be 16. They have to put more pressure on the civil service commission, which has given certain number of scholarships. It all fits on the ministry of health long term planning.

    Does the university or country where that the student had his/her baccalaureates affect the chances of having a scholarship?
    If a student, who graduated from any school, got an acceptance, then KIMS has no problem granting them the scholarship. We trust the universities decisions. Some universities in USA get the students who graduated from a non-English program into a year of AEGD or observation and upon their performance in that year a decision is made whether to accept them or not. KIMS and MOH prefer this observation year for the non-American graduates, although sometimes American graduates go for this one year.

    What about KU graduates? Do graduates still have to take this one year?
    No, I don't think so. FOD has a good reputation because of its graduates who have attended programs abroad performed very well. In addition, most of the external examiners are from countries which are considered as potential dental schools for post graduates studies.

    What are the criteria that a university should meet to get recognized and certified by KIMS?
    For the USA, universities should be accredited by the American Dental Association and American Association of Dental Education. Also, their dental program should be approved and accredited by their corresponding specialty association. For example, for endodontics the program has to be approved by American Association of Endodontist. Very few schools we don't send scholarships to, which are the new school that has just started and don't have a track record. Same thing applies to the UK; the university should be approved by their accrediting bodies such as the General Dental Counsel (GDE) and The Royal Collages.

    Can a privately sponsored post-graduate student complete his/her studies with KIMS?
    The rules and regulation of the Civil Service Commission applies to them, they must have certain GPA which should not be below B before they can transfer. It's possible but it has not happened before.

    Is there any plan to keep a constant number of international seats, in the United States universities for example, available exclusively for Kuwaiti students?
    We want to keep Kuwaiti students competitive. If the Kuwaiti students are good enough we don't have to keep seats for them not to get the standard down. Although we make agreement with universities to accept our students it's important to meet minimum requirements. It's the post graduate programs who choose the final candidate not us.

    What are the local post graduate studies that KIMS supervises?
    There is only one program; it's the MGD (Membership of General Dentistry), which is done by MOH in association with the Royal Collage of Surgeons, Ireland. MFD/S is considered as a Master but it's not a specialty. It just shows that a student can study at graduate level.

    How can a graduate apply for MGD?
    MFD/S should be completed before applying to the three year MGD program. Then the student is interviewed and selected to work in a designated clinic that the MOH designed and equipped for these kinds of programs. It's also mandatory to have a patients file and keep a certain standard of work. Lectures are given by the Royal Collage of Ireland, with certain modules that have to be followed. Basically, it's like what we do in the FOD. At the end of the program, four cases should be presented two of which will be examined. The other two cases will be looked only at their documentations. When passing the program, the graduates will be given the membership.

    Are there any local specialty programs?
    FOD, KU and MOH are thinking about it, but there is nothing at the moment.


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