The Institute of Medical Education (IME) was conceptualized in 1998 and established in 2004, when Dr. Edmund Michael collaborated with Ms. Umilta Stoute to commence the operations of the Institute. This development occurred because of the realisation by the founders that one of the ways to improve the health care services in Trinidad and Tobago, was the provision of skilled and professional Allied Health Care practitioners. This recognition was based on the experiences of Dr. Michael in his professional development journey.
After attending primary and secondary school in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Michael studied in Canada and the United States. He rose to the position of Chairman of an ad hoc national committee of the American Academy of Family Practice, which oversees family medicine in the United States, after having been Board certified in that area of specialization. In 1981, Dr. Michael returned to Trinidad and Tobago after having been recruited by the Ministry of Health in Trinidad and Tobago to return to our twin island republic on a contractual basis, after leaving his lucrative private practice in New Jersey.
On his return, Dr. Michael was attached firstly to the San Fernando General Hospital, and then served as District Medical Officer for the San Fernando region. During his period of training medical students and general practitioners at the UWI medical school Mt Hope, Dr. Michael was struck by the level of and the lack of appreciation regarding ancillary health care by these medical personnel. He later served as the Director-Medicine of the Board of the Tobago Regional Health Authority.
During his years of service, the weaknesses of the Health Care Sector became increasingly apparent, in particular the need for trained and qualified personnel in Allied Health Care. Subsequent to identifying these deficiencies, and discussions regarding the concept of Allied Health Training with colleagues and friends, the decision to establish the IME was taken.
In several cases, historical journeys often have simple beginnings, and are typically based upon unique circumstances; the IME is no exception. The increasing cases of renal failure as a non-communicable illness in Trinidad and Tobago, along with heart disease and diabetes posed a significant challenge. The perennial shortage of doctors and nurses in the Ministry of Health and Regional Health Authorities, as well as the limited availability of AHC professionals, provided opportunities for the IME.
The formalization of the IME occurred on October 10th, 2004, when the Institute was incorporated. After starting off with a small cohort at the Leotaud Street facility in 2008, the IME sought and obtained approval from the ACTT and GATE for the Dialysis Technician programme, and subsequently in 2012 for the Massage Therapy Programme.
The institution continued to develop and expand over the years, with a notable accomplishment being the acquisition of a fully owned facility on Gordon Street, San Fernando. As the needs of the institution evolved, the necessary improvements to the infrastructure and amenities were effected to treat with same.
In keeping with the Institute’s focus on providing quality training in both the theoretical and practical areas of its programmes, the IME has continuously increased the number of affiliated externship sites. This has indeed augured well for the institution, and has served to establish its track record of producing highly competent graduates for the job market in the AHC sector.
In 2018, the IME took the strategic decision to seek institutional accreditation prior to the expiration of its 2017 - 2020 period of registration. This was granted in 2018 by the ACTT i.e. ‘Candidacy Status’. During the period of registration, another strategic step was taken to establish a Quality Management System, modelled on the ISO 9001 standards. This was consistent with the IME’s Vision and Mission statements, both of which have served the institution well to date.