The Aga Khan University Medical College, Pakistan was established at a time when higher education was considered the domain of state-run institutions. The concept of a private University, though widely accepted in the West, was foreign to this country. The University's birth is a testament to the vision, dedication and effort of its founder, His Highness the Aga Khan.
The Medical College, Pakistan which commenced operation in 1983 is an academic unit of the Faculty of Health Sciences, alongside the School of Nursing and Midwifery. The Medical College, in addition to a five year Undergraduate Medical Education programme which leads to an MBBS degree, also offers a Master of Science in Epidemiology & Biostatistics (with specialization in Clinical Research), Master of Science in Health Policy & Management, Master of Bioethics, Master of Health Professions Education, PhD in Health Sciences (in the Biological and Clinical Sciences, Public and Population Health and Nursing disciplines), Advanced Diploma in Health Professions Education and Advanced Diploma in Human Development. The College also has an extensive Postgraduate Medical Education programme, currently comprising 32 Residency and 28 Fellowship programmes where emphasis is placed not only the acquisition of professional skills and knowledge but also on the development of professionalism.
In keeping pace with rapid advancements in medical education, to ensure integration of technology enhanced learning in its pedagogy and to improve acquisition of present and cutting edge clinical and other skills, the University is constructing a state-of-the-art Centre for Innovation in Medical Education. The facility will not only serve undergraduate, postgraduate medical, nursing and allied health students, but would also be available for professional and continuing education of practicing physicians.
Considering the urgent need for quality health care in war stricken Afghanistan and the University’s mandate of primarily serving the developing world, the Medical College, Pakistan, in collaboration with Ministry of Public Health Afghanistan, has initiated Residency programmes in Paediatric Medicine, Paediatric Surgery, Anaesthesiology, Pathology, Radiology, Cardiology and Orthopaedics at the French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC), Kabul, Afghanistan. FMIC is currently an 85 bed paediatric healthcare facility managed by AKU under a partnership between the Governments of Afghanistan and France, Aga Khan Development Network and La Chaine de L'Espoir, a French humanitarian organization. Over the next 2 years, FMIC will expand into a 150 bed mother and child complex.
Cognizant of the fact that contribution to knowledge society is the hallmark of all leading academic institutions of the world and in our continued journey to be a truly research led University of the 21st century, the Medical College continues to foster and underpin its research culture and capacities, and forge new multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research collaborations. One such collaboration is with University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), on a five-year start-up plan on Stem Cell Science and Stem Cell Therapies programme, where UCSF, which is one of the leading research university in this area, will assist the AKU in developing critical capacity and bridging the gap between clinicians and basic/clinical scientists in stem cell research. AKU’s future Centre for Regenerative Medicine will focus on the study of stem cells, with the aim of developing new treatments for major diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, wound healing, musculoskeletal diseases, degenerative diseases and liver failure. It will seek to translate innovative laboratory research into clinical and commercial arenas to replace and repair diseased tissues and organs.
To further expand on what has already been achieved and in pursuit of excellence, the University is establishing Centres of Excellence in the areas of Woman & Child Health, Neurosciences, Oncology, Cardiac Services, Diagnostic Services, Emergency Medicine and Trauma Care. These Centres of Excellence will propel AKU to new heights and will focus on education, research and clinical care in a more comprehensive and holistic manner.
Based on the rankings released by Higher Education Commission in February 2012 and July 2013, Aga Khan University has been ranked as the # 1 University in Pakistan in the Medical category in both the public and private sector. The AKU Medical College, Pakistan was also recently conferred with ASPIRE Excellence Awards in Student Assessment and Student Engagement in the Curriculum at the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Conference 2013 held in Prague, Czech Republic.