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Can Fam Physician. 2019 Jul;65(7):491-496.

Family physicians and health advocacy: Is it really a difficult fit?

Author information

1
Assistant Professor and Associate Program Director of Curriculum and Remediation for the postgraduate program in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto in Ontario and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. carrie.bernard@utoronto.ca.
2
Independent Scientist and Interim Director of Education Research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
3
Doctoral candidate in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and Education Research Coordinator for Continuing Professional Development in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.
4
Clinical Director for the Asian Initiative in Mental Health and Associate Professor in the Equity, Gender, and Population Division of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
5
Assistant Professor and Program Director of Postgraduate Education in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
6
Associate Professor in the Equity, Gender, and Population Division of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
7
Manager of Client and Family Education and CAMH Publications Education at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
8
Was Research coordinator for this project through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
9
Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto.
10
Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, Director and Scientist at the Wilson Centre for Research and Education, Vice President of Education at Women's College Hospital, and the BMO Financial Group Chair in Health Professions Research at University Health Network.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine whether family medicine residents and faculty members appreciate the full spectrum of health advocacy as described in articles published in Canadian Family Physician in 2016 and to identify the perceived challenges and enablers of advocating across the entire spectrum.

DESIGN:

Analysis of a subset of data from a qualitative study using semistructured interviews and focus groups.

SETTING:

University of Toronto in Ontario.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 9 family medicine faculty members and 6 family medicine residents.

METHODS:

A subset of transcripts from a 2015 qualitative study that explored family medicine and psychiatry residents' and faculty members' understanding of the CanMEDS-Family Medicine health advocate role were reviewed, guided by interpretive descriptive methodology.

MAIN FINDINGS:

Results indicated that family medicine physicians and residents were able to identify the full spectrum of advocacy described in the Canadian Family Physician articles and that they valued the role. Further, there was widespread agreement that being a health advocate was linked with their identities as health professionals. The time it takes to be a health advocate was seen as a barrier to being effective in the role, and the work was seen as extremely challenging owing to system constraints. Participants also described a gap in training relating to advocacy at the system level as a challenge.

CONCLUSION:

Team-based care was seen as one of the most important enablers for becoming involved in the full spectrum of advocacy, as was time for personal reflection.

PMID:
31300435
PMCID:
PMC6738460

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