LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2013 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 184-185
Judicious selection of M.D. thesis topic: Role of faculty in improving research in public health
DS Dhadwal, SR Mazta, A Gupta
Department of Community Medicine, I G Medical College, Shimla, India
|Date of Web Publication||8-Aug-2013|
D S Dhadwal
Department of Community Medicine, I G Medical College, Shimla
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Dhadwal D S, Mazta S R, Gupta A. Judicious selection of M.D. thesis topic: Role of faculty in improving research in public health. Indian J Community Med 2013;38:184-5
|How to cite this URL:|
Dhadwal D S, Mazta S R, Gupta A. Judicious selection of M.D. thesis topic: Role of faculty in improving research in public health. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2013 [cited 2017 Dec 15];38:184-5. Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2013/38/3/184/116357
The contents of the past issues of the Journal are a reflection of how vibrant the specialty of preventive and social medicine/public health/community medicine has been and about the role it has played in improving the health status of the Indian population. Community medicine specialists should spearhead the movement to make public health as the focus for growth and development rather than just limiting them to the theoretical class room teachings alone. 
As per the Regulations of Medical Council of India, M.D. thesis has been made an essential part of the degree course as this gives training in research methodology.  In the past as well as in the current scenario, M.D. thesis is generally seen as an obligation or just a stipulated work necessary to pass the examination by the post-graduate students, so there is hardly any serious effort to take up a difficult or newer research topic and there is a general tendency to repeat similar work carried out in the past with minor modifications.
The onus also lies on the Faculty of Community Medicine in different Medical Colleges who, over the years, have not been able to break this pattern of repetitive KAP type studies which are not telling the policy makers, anything new, so that they can take corrective actions. This, in turn, is eroding the image of specialty of Community medicine in the eyes of the Health policy makers, administrators, other specialties', and the community as well.
The need of the hour is to deliberate upon the role of the Faculty of Community Medicine in improving the quality of research and subsequent publication in Journals, so as to aid in framing of National Health Policies and Programs. It is important for the faculty to take on the challenging role of mentors in M.D. thesis work. The process of M.D. thesis should start with lot of pondering on the research question. As a Faculty of Community Medicine, it is one of our prime responsibilities to generate research questions that contribute not only to the academic progress but also play a catalytic role in formulating health policy and programs. 
Most of the M.D. thesis/research carried out by the post-graduate students is in form of KAP studies, most of them on already exhaustively studied topics, resulting in scientific research that overlaps substantially with ones already published. Although the importance of fact finding by KAP studies cannot be denied, wherever possible, we must push ourselves to applied research. The medical faculty has a great opportunity in influencing policy by answering questions related to program effectiveness.
The governing councils of Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and Indian Public Health Association which are the primary bodies responsible for alleviating the standards of research and teaching in public health and community medicine should take the lead by inviting the soft copies of all the M.D. thesis carried out at all Public Health Institutions affiliated to them and awarding the top 5 research works by giving research grants on patterns similar to Indian Council of Medical Research.
The editorial board of Indian Journal of Community Medicine (IJCM) can also greatly help in improving the quality of research in public health by giving preference to the publication of relevant operational research which is likely to have some impact on the betterment of health services or programs rather than publishing repetitive "run of the mill" KAP studies on already researched topics. In fact, it is suggested that the editorial board of IJCM should conduct a detailed analysis of publications published in IJCM in last 20 years, categorizing the topics covered and also the type of studies i.e., KAP, Case-control, Operational research, Meta-analysis, etc.
It is high time that the Faculty of Community Medicine shed its "convenient", room-based theoretical teaching and research approach and take up the challenging role of an effective mentor by encouraging students to take up intervention-based, problem-solving studies based on relevant topics on burning public health issues.
If we really want to take our specialty to new heights, lets shun the "Rat race" and take the "road less travelled" in the future.
| References|| |
|1.||Kumar R. Journal, association, and public health in medical colleges. Indian J Community Med 2010;35:1-2. |
|2.||Post Graduate Medical Education. Regulations on the Medical Council of India. Medical Council of India, New Delhi, 2000. http://www.mciindia.org. |
|3.||Pandav CS. Role of faculty of medical colleges in national health policy and program development. Indian J Community Med 2010;35:3-6. |