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REF NO.: 27

SUBJECT: Federal funding announced for interprofessional education project at Memorial University

DATE: Sept. 22

The Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada and Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, today announced a federal contribution of $1.25 million to the Centre for Collaborative Health Professional Education (CCHPE) at Memorial University to develop an interprofessional education curriculum with activities that span the health professional education continuum.

“Increased teamwork among health professionals will allow Canadians to receive care from the appropriate health-care provider at the appropriate time,” said Minister Efford. “This will help to reduce wait times. This project at Memorial also responds to commitments in the Ten-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care signed by the First Ministers last September.”

The CCHPE project, Collaborating for Education and Practice: An Interprofessional Education Strategy for Newfoundlandand Labrador, has been developed as part of collaborations involving the Faculties of Medicine and Education, the Schools of Social Work, Nursing and Pharmacy, and Memorial’s Counselling Centre. A project steering committee has been formed to guide the planning, implementation and evaluation of the overall project. Project co-leaders are Drs. Dennis Sharpe and Vernon Curran.

Minister Efford’s announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister of Health Canada. The project at MemorialUniversityis one of 11 across the country being funded by the Government of Canada to help reform the way health care is delivered. The projects are funded under the Interprofessional Education for Collaborative Patient-Centred Practice Initiative, part of the Pan-Canadian Health Human Resources Strategy.

Speaking on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Provincial Minister of Education Tom Hedderson said the proposed Interprofessional Education Curriculum Framework supports the current policy direction of the provincial government. “This funding is important for both our provincial health strategy and for our commitment to world-class education opportunities. A team-based, interprofessional approach will benefit both those who deliver and receive health care services,” said the minister.

Dr.Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research) of Memorial University, said this federal grant will allow CCHPE to develop a much-needed interprofessional education curriculum with activities that span the health professional education continuum. “During my years in the Schoolof Pharmacy, I saw first-hand how pharmacists work with other health-care professionals to meet patients’ needs. Pharmacists, nurses, physicians, social workers and education professionals can all contribute to team care. But to be most effective, collective education and training is essential. In this way, team members better understand and value the respective skills of other health-care professionals, and acquire the necessary skills and attitudes to function in this important working arrangement.”

Dr. Shelly Birnie-Lefcovitch, director of the Schoolof Social Work, said the Health Canada grant provides tangible evidence of the strong history of interprofessional collaboration which characterizes the health-related disciplines at MemorialUniversity. “This important investment will enable the university to develop curriculum and learning materials that will be of direct benefit to the health and community service system in Newfoundlandand Labrador. As a result of this funding, the university will be better able to prepare the graduates of its health-related programs to work in and provide leadership to the interdisciplinary teams found in all areas of professional practice.”

Dr. James Rourke, dean of Medicine, said Memorial is acknowledged as a leading university in collaborative health education. “Our Centre for Collaborative Health Professional Education is dedicated to initiate, facilitate and co-ordinate activities that enhance the education of all health professionals.”

Dr. Sandra LeFort, director of the Schoolof Nursing, noted that Nursing, Medicine, Social Work and Pharmacy work well together to ensure that students do some of their core curriculum together. “This new interprofessional education grant will enhance an already strong partnership.”

Joan Rowsell, director of the Centre for Nursing Studies, said the centre has been involved over the past several years with interprofessional education projects. “Our students have benefited greatly from the opportunity to work collaboratively with fellow health science students on these projects. We look forward to continue to work with our partners on new opportunities for collaborative interprofessional education.”

Dr. Linda Hensman, director of the Schoolof Pharmacy, said that for many years undergraduate students from all four health sciences areas have worked together on interprofessional education projects to ensure collaborative learning and develop team skills critical for practice success. “This federal grant will allow us to expand our efforts in this area.”

Dr. Peter Cornish, director of Memorial University’s Counselling Centre, said, “that by bringing psychologists at the Counselling Centre together with faculty in Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy and Social Work, this grant will allow us to enhance the mental health skills of licensed practitioners in a wide variety of health disciplines in rural communities across Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Dr. Alice Collins, dean of Education, said the Faculty of Education is pleased to contribute to this very important initiative and to collaborate with the academic units of Medicine, Social Work, Nursing and Pharmacy in the endeavour to build together the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to the delivery of wellness and health care.

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For further information contact Brenda Kirby, project manager, Interprofessional Education for Collaborative Patient-Centred Practice, Centre for Collaborative Health Professional Education. Phone 777-8809or email at


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