Building Public Health Capacity for Unregulated/Internationally Trained Health Workers (March 2011)

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Title: Building Public Health Capacity for Unregulated/Internationally Trained Health Workers
Principal Applicant Title(s) Institutional Affiliation Funding Amount Anticipated Completion Date
Ms. Maureen Cava Manager Professional Practice Planning and Policy at Toronto Public Health $25,000 March 2011
Co-Applicant(s) Titles(s) Institutional Affiliation(s)
Ms. Heather Parker Manager People Services, Finance Administration at Toronto Public Health

 cava2Biography of the Prinical Investigator: Ms. Maureen Cava is the manager of professional practice for planning and policy at Toronto Public Health. She has been successful in receiving several other grants from Healthforce Ontario for projects including 1) leadership/mentorship, 2) succession management for nurses and 3) performance management. All projects have been done in collaboration with other agencies and have been completed on time. Ms. Cava has experience working with consultants and project coordinators in her role at TPH, and as well while on a secondment to Cancer Care Ontario and has completed a separate project for TPH on development of a video describing the work of TPH. This video is used to orient staff, students, and visitors to the work of TPH.

Abstract

This initiative will assist Toronto Public Health (TPH) to build on the existing knowledge base and skill sets of internationally trained professionals and unregulated health workers in relation to public health core content and competencies. TPH currently recruits a mix of health workers that we must support with professional development activities especially if we are to continue to hire and attract these types of individuals. These activities must provide a range from professional, career and leadership development opportunities. This capacity building activity will target internationally trained professionals and unregulated health workers who are employed at TPH. These include but are not limited to family home visitors; TB directly observed therapy home visitors, speech and language technicians, community nutrition assistants, research consultants, health promotion consultants and program evaluators. Some of the internationally trained professionals may have taken some courses in public health but this may not be recognizable in the Canadian public health work environment. In some instances the unregulated health workers have no formal academic background in public health sciences and thus have limited knowledge or background in public health practice at all. They are oriented "on the job" and given limited professional development around the key drivers of public health practice and competencies.

The development of 4 learning modules, each with a focus on public health practice will be used to enhance the learning and understanding for those professionals and health workers who are either new to the Canadian public health workforce or have limited understanding of the Canadian Healthcare system and how and where public health fits into that system. Topics for the modules include; mapping out the public health system, population health, social determinants of health, theoretical underpinnings of health promotion and disease prevention, advocacy and healthy public policy, building partnerships/collaborations and program planning and evaluation. Each module will be developed so that it can be delivered in multiple mediums including face-to-face or a self directed e- learning module. The self-directed e- learning modules will be developed using the software Lectora. The modules will be reviewed by experts and stakeholders in the field of public health and pilot tested with a small group of unregulated/internationally trained health workers that are newly employed at TPH, and as well from 2 other health units in Ontario. The pilot testing will be evaluating the modules for content, ease of understanding, knowledge and skill development. Following the pilot test, necessary revisions will be incorporated into the modules. A formal dissemination and marketing plan for usage will be developed by the TPH Learning Committee. The dissemination plan will include internal and external strategies so as to reach many other professionals in other agencies and stakeholders. Once the modules have been used in the field for a period of 6 months there will be plans to evaluate usage and experience with increasing knowledge and skill of the target audience as was completed following the pilot testing.

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