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Community Engaged Scholarship and Service Learning
Dr. Ingrid Sketris implemented a unique service learning program during the ten year period of her Chair in Health Services Research, which was funded by CHSRF/CIHR and cosponsored by the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.
A new approach to graduate education in pharmaceutical policy and medication management
was undertaken with the establishment of the Drug Use Management and Policy Residency Program (DUMPRP).
The DUMPRP developed capacity in trainees and faculty advisors to conduct pharmaceutical policy research together with decision-makers in the Nova Scotia provincial government (e.g., diabetes care program, information technology, health promotion and protection, pharmaceutical services, public healthprimary care), continuing care and acute care
Through the DUMPRP, 38 graduate students were placed with 31 health care decision makers (preceptors) and 26 academic advisors for a 17-week residency focused on a policy or program issue identified by the preceptors. The trainees selected for DUMPRP, and
their faculty advisors, came from diverse academic backgrounds (community health & epidemiology, health services research, economics, health informatics, library information sciences, law/health administration) and were at various stages in their careers. Although
approximately 50% had prior health care experience (as physicians, pharmacists, occupational therapists, nurses and dental assistants), others had no health care
Consequently, the DUMPRP included a series of capacity development seminars and workshops which provided a common understanding of the Nova Scotia health care system and pharmaceutical policy issues, and introduced relevant research tools and techniques.
The trainees, with faculty advisor support, used quantitative and qualitative research methods or systematic literature review approaches to provide evidence to inform key pharmaceutical policy issues (Conrad 2005, Sketris in press).
The program has recently been evaluated from student, faculty and preceptor perspectives. Conrad et al (inpress) studied the value of the program from the students’ perspectives. Feedback highlighted the value of students’ immersion in environments that, with
support from preceptors, faculty advisors and the DUMPRP team, allowed students to address “real world” pharmaceutical policy issues. Despite diverse backgrounds, students reported successful completion of pharmaceutical policy projects which contributed research evidence.