Professor Vanessa Burch, Chief Specialist, Groote Schuur Hospital and Professor and Chair of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town. Vanessa Burch holds an MBChB degree (cum laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand, an MMed in Internal Medicine from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in health sciences education from Erasmus University in the Netherlands. She is a fellow of both the College of Physicians of South Africa as well as the Royal College of Physicians in the UK (London). She is currently a Chief Specialist at Groote Schuur Hospital and Professor and Chair of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cape Town.
Vanessa Burch is an acknowledged international authority in the field of health professions education. She regularly presents her work at national and international meetings, has more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters and a handbook of clinical medicine. Her research work focuses on teaching and assessment in resource-constrained settings, factors determining the success of academically-at-risk students and health care services in the public sector in South Africa. She is an associate editor for Advances in Health Sciences Education and a deputy editor of Medical Education; the latter two journals are in the top three health sciences education journals internationally. She also regularly reviews manuscripts for Medical Teacher, Advances in Health Sciences Education, Medical Education and BMC Medical Education. In 2009 she launched a health sciences education journal targeting the needs of African health professions educators, the African Journal of Health Professions Education. To date this is the only open access journal targeting the health professions education needs on the African continent.
In 2002 she was awarded a fellowship by the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). The latter is an affiliate of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the licensing body for medical doctors wishing to practice or complete postgraduate studies in the USA. The FAIMER programme specifically focuses on providing leadership, management and health sciences education training for clinician educators from medical schools in developing countries. To date FAIMER has awarded more than 500 fellowships to clinician educators from more than 20 countries. In 2008 Vanessa Burch co-founded the Southern Africa FAIMER Regional Institute (SAFRI), a FAIMER-funded South African training site for clinician educators from sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently director of SAFRI and, to date, the programme has awarded more than 60 fellowships to clinician educators from 11 African countries.
Vanessa Burch is a nationally respected teacher. She was awarded a Distinguished Teachers’ Award from UCT (2006), an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Council for Higher Education in South Africa (2010) and was named Distinguished Educator by the South African Association of Health Educationalists (2010). She is Director of the MBChB programme and Assistant Dean of Education at the University of Cape Town. She is also a member of the Undergraduate Education and Training Committee of the Medical and Dental Professions Board of the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Vanessa Burch is also an examiner and examinations convener of the College of Physicians of South Africa and a Senator of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa.
Professor Burch devotes her clinical time to providing an acute general medicine service at a community-based teaching hospital addressing the needs of underserved and disadvantaged communities in Cape Town.