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National award for graduate diploma program

(L-R) Drs. Vernon Curran and Dennis Shape.

Memorial's Graduate Diploma in Post-secondary Studies (Health Professional Education) was named the Award of Excellence Winner, National Program Award 2004, by the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education/ Association pour L'Úducation Permanente dans les UniversitÚs du Canada (CAUCE/AEPUC).

The program began accepting students in winter 2003. Courses are offered on the Web, allowing health professional participants to continue working and pursue courses at their convenience.

"We are delighted with the award," said Dr. Dennis Sharpe, co-director of the Centre for Collaborative Health Professional Education (CCHPE) and chair of the post-secondary program in Education. "The graduate diploma was developed as a joint effort between the Faculty of Education and the CCHPE in response to an identified need for this type of program for health professionals. It is designed as a stand-alone diploma or as a stepping stone to the M.Ed. Post-Secondary program, thus providing a route for those who wish to continue with their graduate studies at Memorial."

Dr. Sharpe said the program has had considerable success to date, with excellent feedback from participants. "It has attracted attention from a wide array of health professional groups, and students both locally and from various provinces and states in North America have enrolled."

Dr. James Rourke, dean of Medicine, said that the Faculty of Medicine is a very pleased with the successful collaboration with Education, Nursing, Pharmacy and Social Work that has led to the development of this innovative program, now recognized for excellence by CAUCE/AEPUC. "Interprofessional collaboration will be an increasing focus of development at Memorial University."

Dr. Alice Collins, dean of Education, remarked on the collaborative and flexible nature of the program. "Health professionals engage with each other in a collaborative way through online discussion thus building a professional and scholarly community. The program reflects Memorial's commitment to those who wish to undertake programs on a part-time basis and in their home communities."

Dr. Vernon Curran, co-director of CCHPE, said that the centre, as part of its mandate, has been leading several research projects focusing on interprofessional education and collaborative practice. For example, a project completed for Health Canada's Interprofessional Education for Collaborative Patient-Centred Practice initiative involved a survey of academic administrators of health professional education programs in Canadian universities and colleges to examine attitudes towards collaborative practice and interprofessional education. Current projects underway include a survey to review interprofessional initiatives in collaborative mental health care approaches amongst Canadian universities and colleges. Another project encompasses a review of accreditation standards of bodies responsible for accrediting health professional education programs in Canada to identify means for fostering and encouraging interprofessional education through accreditation processes. Further information about the CCHPE and the diploma program can be found at www.med.mun.ca/cchpe.