Emese Ibolya

Improving Medical School Curricula and Roma Access to Health Care in Hungary
Narrative progress report

In my project I intended to reveal the cross-cultural contents of medical school curricula in the interest of improving access for Roma people to quality health care services in Hungary. According to my original project plans for 2005 there were no major changes in the implementation. I realized all activities I had planned, however, not all the money has been spent so far I required for my research. I intend to spend this sum in 2006 as I indicated in my 2005 finance report.

In order to gain thorough knowledge in the selected field for my research, my main focus area was the underlying attitude of medical school teachers towards the issues of sensitizing medical students for communication and cooperation with socially disadvantaged people such as the Roma. Therefore, I conducted interviews with teachers from medical schools on intermediary and higher education in order to reveal their attitudes and value system in the given field. I also interviewed students and made focus group discussions with them in order to find out how attitudes are passed from teachers to students, moreover to be able to perceive the ’culture’ of medical education and the attitude of students.

I conducted several interviews with government officials operating in the field of health care and Roma inclusion in order to gain information on the policy background in my selected field and consulted several research materials, reports and surveys conducted on the given topic.  I also visited Roma settlements in order get first-hand experiences on their average living conditions, to reveal their perception on the attitude of medical staff towards them and their access to quality health care services. Besides contacting Roma people I visited hospitals and GPs offices as well to observe interactions between medical personnel and the Roma who I interviewed. During my research I remained in regular contact with Roma and non-Roma NGOs active in health care and Roma inclusion. Moreover, I realized and will further implement advocacy activities by being in contact with representatives of the Roma Health Program and Education Support Program of OSI, Public Health Program of the Hungarian Soros Foundation, the National Institute of Public Health, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and the Roma Integration Directorate of the Government Office for Equal Opportunities in Hungary.

In order to be able to make policy recommendations on the adaptation of foreign educational models to Hungarian decision makers, I attended a course on international education policy studies hosted by Columbia University in New York. It was a distance course taking place between September and December, 2005 and I also participated in a one-week seminar included in the course in New York at the end of October.

I plan to publish my research and policy study in a booklet for the above mentioned target group and will distribute it among such professional audiences.

Back to My Home Page