UBC Rural Continuing Professional Development

The University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine’s Division of Rural Continuing Professional Development (Rural CPD) supports rural health care providers to build relationships and engage in learning activities “closer to home,” in their usual context of health care delivery in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. The goal of Rural CPD is to cultivate strong relationships with, and meet the needs of, partners, project stakeholders, and rural healthcare practitioners. With its shared commitment to improving the health of people

and communities in rural British Columbia (BC), Rural CPD operates in partnership with the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc) to deliver impactful educational opportunities, offering rurally-specific CPD programs that are community-based, interprofessional, interactive, and practical. In addition to multi-modal learning opportunities, Rural CPD conducts a variety of research and evaluation activities related to the provision of medicine in rural BC.Rural CPD is supported and funded by RCCbc through the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues.

Our Achievements

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Optimized clinical practice through coaching, skill development, network building

Our Rural Peer Support Network (RPSN), which includes the Coaching and Mentoring Program (CAMP) and the coaching pillars for the Rural Surgical and Obstetrical Network (RSON) and Rural Obstetrical and Maternity Sustainability Program (ROAM-SP), delivered over 3200 coaching hours across rural BC. CAMP successfully matched 78 coachees/mentees and 51 coaches/mentors, and RSON had 231 active coaches/mentors. In addition to delivering coaching and mentoring services, RPSN also offered ongoing coach skill development sessions for coaches and mentors and, in 2022, partnered with Rural CPD’s Indigenous Patient Led CPD program to initiate a new series on cultural safety and humility. The Cultural Safety and Humility Coach Skill Development sessions will continue into fiscal year 202223. As a result of this work, RPSN optimized clinical practice, strengthened clinical teams, and enhanced service sustainability by building supportive networks through coaching and mentoring.

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Resumed in-person learning, and increased course offerings and participation

Rural CPD’s distributed learning programs offer opportunities for rural practitioners to enhance their clinical skills in a supportive, safe learning environment that prioritizes building relationships and provider networks. Enhanced skills, such as development of Point-of-Care-Ultrasound (PoCUS) capacity, and reliable, timely, point-of-care clinical support, such as through Real-Time Virtual Support, help reduce barriers to care in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. These programs are in high demand and continue to reach hundreds of rural learners every year. For example: 

  • Hands On Ultrasound Education (HOUSE) resumed in-person course delivery in 2022, delivering 13 course days for a total of 133 participants in Vancouver, Fernie, Salt Spring Island, Burns Lake, 100 Mile House, and Hazelton. Courses are fully subscribed and currently booking into 2023.  
  • The first four sessions of the Rural PoCUS Rounds pilot in spring 2021 were so successful that we expanded to include 12 more sessions from April through May. A total of 305 participants were served from May 2021 to March 2022.  
  • Rural Rounds relaunched the 10-session provincial webinar series in September 2021. Program improvements yielded significant increases in numbers of registrants and attendees, with an average of 52 attendees per webinar.   
  • RTVS Simulation delivered 25 simulations, including a simulation at all eight First Nations Health Authority nursing stations, supporting many of the most frequent RTVS users.  
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Strengthened knowledge and relationships through Indigenous Patient-Led CPD

Although COVID-19 continued to limit capacity and present barriers to relationship-based work as we could not gather face to face or travel to engage with communities, Indigenous Patient Led CPD had several successes in the 2022 financial year: 

  • Completed Brokered Dialogue with Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC), assisting community members to share their experiences of medical care and engage in safe and effective dialogue with medical providers.  
  • Supported Elder-led virtual education delivery and evaluation with NTC community members and physicians from the Central Island Division of Family Practice.  
  • Supported Carrier Sekani Family Services to deliver and evaluate three virtual cohorts of Nowh Guna cultural training.  
  • Intentionally examined and redeveloped internal processes to provide culturally appropriate and safe project leadership, management, development and implementation.  
  • Developed and began piloting an evidence-based Cultural Humility and Bias evaluation tool.  
  • Assessed the need for a trauma-informed care curriculum as part of readiness to engage in cultural safety learning, which we will develop in 2022-23.  

This work helped strengthen relationships between Indigenous and physician communities through supported self-reflection and dialogue, and provided experiential learning opportunities for rural health care providers to foster cultural humility, address systemic bias, and improve the health of Indigenous peoples. The project both follows and develops innovative approaches to continuing medical education and professional development, including co-facilitation, co-development, and commitment to being community-based, Nation-specific and Elder-led.  

Making a Difference

While the COVID-19 pandemic continued to challenge the delivery of Rural CPD programs this year, it also created opportunities for the team to accelerate and enhance its virtual learning offerings, to test and refine hybrid options, and when safe to do so, ease back into in-person meetings and courses. 

“Despite ongoing physical distancing, the Rural CPD team of staff and faculty successfully engaged and connected learners across the province, and met diverse learning needs,” says Alisa Harrison, Interim Senior Manager with Rural CPD.  

Looking ahead, the team will continue strengthening relationships with its partners, collaborators, and rural health care learners, and continue bringing an equity lens to all that it does to ensure its reaching out and supporting those rural providers who need it the most.   

Comments from shoes who have participated in Rural CPD course offerings this past year demonstrate the importance of the team’s work:  

HOUSE: 

  • “Excellent course. The skills learned here will truly be game changing.”  
  • “Always the right educational level and practical and useful in real life practice.”  

 Rural Rounds: 

  • “Especially valuable to hear from local experts who understand the rural experience.”  
  • “Well done. Keep them coming, they are great and probably save lives.”  
  • “Excellent as always – the most valuable set of rounds for rural physicians.”  

 Rural Peer Support Network: 

  • “I was able to add so much nuance to my procedures and just gain that confidence and experience again along with new little techniques here and there…”  
  • “…having someone like Dr. [name] say yes, you can do this, I feel safe and comfortable knowing that you exist within my health region…”   
  • “I think it’s…a key part of…having people train in rural generalism, rural surgery, anaesthesia— is having this sort of program in place… Otherwise, you will lose people who’ll do [a] year or two and then they’ll give it up.”   
  • “Please keep doing these [regional anesthesia] sessions! I love them. It is a reassuring and inspiring way to touch base with experts in our field, but in an intimate way that sustains us in smaller centres.”  
  • “This is an amazing approach for those of us not near academic centres. Keep up the excellent work!”  
  • “More doctors/Health Care professionals should attend this [Cultural Safety and Humility Education].”  
  • “I learned how to approach the colonial system that is in place and make a much more inclusive environment for Indigenous and minority patients.”  

 Indigenous Patient Led CPD: 

  • “It really touched my heart…to see the openness and the willingness to share of the Elders and how that affected the community listening in and wanting to find ways to work better together.” 
  • “And I would—I would see the doctors’ faces, sort of over the time, and all of us—not just the physicians […]—just soften.” 
  • “I have certainly noticed things I haven’t before when seeing my patients interact in the health care system. I think about barriers and ways to overcome challenges in ways I simply didn’t know existed.” 
  • “I really appreciated when the discomfort and shame was directly addressed: ‘This is not your fault, we are not angry with you, these are the facts, and we need to address this history in order to move forward together.’ This was wonderfully disarming and validating.”

Team Members

Dr. Dana Hubler
Dr. Dana Hubler
Alisa Harrison

Alisa Harrison

Antigone Fogel

Antigone Fogel

Doris AuYeung

Doris AuYeung

Emily Boardman

Emily Boardman

Erica Chaplin

Erica Chaplin

Gurleen Ghandal

Gurleen Ghandal

Hadas Haft

Hadas Haft

Hareem Minai

Hareem Minai

Ievgeniia Rozhenko

Ievgeniia Rozhenko

Kathryn Young

Kathryn Young

Lisa Wissink

Lisa Wissink

Nicole Didiuk

Nicole Didiuk