IAMSE started in 1988 as a Special Interest Group on Basic Science Education within the AAMC Group on Educational Affairs (GEA). The group was called and organized by Roger W Koment, PhD. Between 1988 and 1993, word of this Special Interest Group spread not only to every allopathic and osteopathic medical school in North America, but also found its way to South America and Europe. The decision was made in 1993 to create an organization that would be independent, yet parallel, to this Special Interest Group. Its name would be the Basic Science Education Forum (BSEF) and it would stand totally separate from the AAMC. Between 1993 and 1997, the Basic Science Education Forum attracted individual members from over 400 medical institutions throughout 87 countries. By mid-1996 it became evident that managing a global organization of such proportions with only the efforts of volunteers already holding full-time faculty appointments would no longer be feasible. The choice was to either discontinue this great project, or to incorporate and become a nonprofit organization. On June 22, 1997, during the Third Biennial International Conference, Dr. Koment announced the dissolution of the Basic Science Education Forum and the formation of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) in its place. This became effective as of July 1, 1997. Since then, IAMSE has grown into a professional organization in the field of faculty development of medical science educators. In 1998 JulNet was hired to support the membership organization and the meeting planning. Today IAMSE offers a wide variety of faculty development opportunities including: an online peer-reviewed journal (Medical Science Educator), web seminars, and an annual meeting.
The annual meetings of IAMSE have always been at the core of the organization. The first meetings of the Basic Science Education Forum began as biennial thematic conferences in 1993. At the 3rd meeting in 1997, IAMSE was officially founded as a nonprofit organization and that made the 4th meeting in 1999 at Georgetown University the first meeting under the name of IAMSE. In 2000, it was decided to transform the IAMSE biennial conferences into annual Association Meetings starting with the 2001 meeting in Rochester (MN). The first meeting outside the United States was organized in 2002 in Guadalajara, Mexico. It was another 7 years before IAMSE took their annual meeting out of North America, and into Europe when they organized the 2009 meeting in Leiden, The Netherlands. This international outreach was continued by planning the 2013 meeting in St Andrews, Scotland (UK) and will be continued further in 2016 by returning to Leiden, The Netherlands. The annual meetings currently attract approximately 400 participants from over 20 countries around the world and provide wonderful opportunities for faculty development and networking.
Overview of IAMSE meetings:
1993 Charleston (SC), 1995 Chicago (IL), 1997 Charleston (SC), 1999 Georgetown (DC), 2001 Rochester (MN), 2002 Guadalajara (Mexico), 2003 Georgetown (DC), 2004 New Orleans, 2005 Los Angeles (CA), 2006 Puerto Rico, 2007 Cleveland (OH), 2008 Salt Lake City (UT), 2009 Leiden (Netherlands), 2010 New Orleans, 2011 St Petersburg (FL), 2012 Portland (OR), 2013 St Andrews (UK), 2014 Nashville (TN), 2015 San Diego (CA), 2016 Leiden (Netherlands), 2017 Burlington (VT), 2018 Las Vegas (NV), 2019 Roanoke (VA), 2020 Denver (CO – held virtually due to COVID).
The history of the journal
From the very beginning, IAMSE has been sharing information among the membership. It all started with a newsletter called “The Forum Newsletter”, A Publication of the AAMC: GEA’s Basic Science Education Special Interest Group (1991-1993). In 1994, this newsletter was renamed into Basic Science Educator (1994-2001) which began to evolve from a newsletter into a journal. In the year 2000 the journal became available online, being one of the first journals to do so. In 2002, as the journal continued to grow, it was renamed again. This time it would be known as the Journal of the International Association of Medical Science Educators (JIAMSE, 2002-2011). The goal was to transform the semi-annual publication into a regularly published peer-reviewed journal. One of the features of JIAMSE was its publication in English, French, and Spanish which made it unique in the world. While the journal had enough potential, the mission and focus of the journal were not clear by its name. Therefore, the publication was renamed yet again in 2011, this time to Medical Science Educator (2011-present). The new name reflected the interests of the journal: the experiences from educators teaching the medical sciences not limited to the basic sciences. By bringing the journal under the Springer portfolio in 2014, the journal experienced an enormous growth in interest, submissions, and published articles.
Overview of Editor-in-Chiefs:
John Curry (1991-1994)
Gabriel Virella (1995-1996)
Roger W Koment (1997-2002)
Douglas J Gould (2002-2006)
Uldis N Streips (2007-2010)
Peter GM de Jong (2010-present)
From the beginning, word of the Special Interest Group on Basic Science Education found its way to outside North America. It comes as no surprise that later on the word International would be included in IAMSE’s name. Since then, IAMSE has been building on collaborations with other groups within as well as outside of the USA. For example, as of 2003, a joint-membership option was offered between IAMSE and the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE). In 2008, the Slice of Life group on technology in learning merged with IAMSE, and in 2009 closer ties were created with the Dutch Association for Medical Education (NVMO) as a result of the annual meeting in Leiden. In 2012, IAMSE and the worldwide MedU consortium formed a strategic collaboration to integrate the basic and clinical sciences in an effort to promote collaborative teaching and student excellence in clinical decision making and patient care. In 2015 agreements were established with AACOM and AAMC regarding exhibit exchange at each other’s annual meetings.