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J Interprof Care. 2008;22 Suppl 1:61-72. doi: 10.1080/13561820802052931.

Social accountability in action: University-community collaboration in the development of an interprofessional Aboriginal health elective.

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Division of Continuing Professional Development and Knowledge Translation, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


A survey of the health professional curriculum at the University of British Columbia revealed a need for improvements in education relating to Aboriginal health. At the same time, interprofessional education has been increasingly viewed as an essential aspect of sustainable health care reform. Interprofessional approaches to education and community practice have the potential to contribute to improvements in access to care, as well as health professional recruitment in underserved communities. While the benefits of interprofessional approaches have been identified, there are few published examples of the application of interprofessional learning and care in Aboriginal communities. This article describes the co-development by university and community partners of an accredited interprofessional, practice-based Aboriginal health course. Seed funding for this course was originally granted in November 2004 for a demonstration project led by the UBC Faculty of Medicine from a national Primary Health Care Renewal initiative focused on Social Accountability, namely "Issues of Quality and Continuing Professional Development: Maintenance of Competence" (referred to as CPDiQ project). This article presents findings from the development and implementation of this innovative course, run as a pilot during the summer of 2006 in two Aboriginal communities in British Columbia, Canada. Recommendations for integrating Aboriginal perspectives and foregrounding principles of social accountability in interprofessional health curricula are highlighted. In addition, successes and challenges are described related to garnering administrative and curricular support among the various health disciplines, interprofessional scheduling, and fostering cross-discipline understanding and communication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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