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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 107, Issue 4–5, pp e373–e380 | Cite as

How are Canadian universities training and supporting undergraduate medical, physiotherapy and occupational therapy students for global health experiences in international low-resource settings?

  • Jennifer BessetteEmail author
  • Chantal Camden
Mixed Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Canadian medical (MD), physiotherapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) students increasingly show an interest in global health experiences (GHEs). As certain moral hazards can occur as a result of student GHEs, a growing consensus exists that universities must have an established selection process, in-depth pre-departure training (PDT), adequate onsite supervision and formal debriefing for their students. This study aimed to identify current practices in Canadian MD, PT and OT programs and discuss areas for improvement by comparing them with recommendations found in the literature.

METHODS: Canadian MD, PT and OT programs (n = 45) were invited to answer an online survey about their current practices for GHE support and training. The survey included 24 close-ended questions and 18 open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics and a thematic analysis were performed on the data and results were discussed in comparison with recommendations found in the literature.

RESULTS: Twenty-three programs responded to the survey. Student selection processes varied across universities; examples included using academic performance, interviews and motivation letters. All but one MD program had mandatory PDT; content and teaching formats varied, as did training duration (2–38 hours). All but one MD program had onsite supervision; local clinicians were frequently involved. Debriefing, although not systematic, covered similar content; debriefing was variable in duration (1–8 hours).

CONCLUSIONS: Many current practices are encouraging, but areas for improvement exist. Integrating global health content into the regular curriculum, with advanced study options for students participating in GHEs, could help universities standardize support and training.

Key words

Global health medicine physiotherapy occupational therapy student 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: Un intérêt croissant est observé parmi les étudiants canadiens de médecine (MD), physiothérapie (PHT) et ergothérapie (ERG) pour les expériences en santé mondiale. Face aux enjeux moraux en lien avec ceux-ci, il est reconnu que les universités doivent se doter de processus de sélection, d’une formation prédépart (FPD) et d’un débreffage au retour, de même qu’assurer une supervision sur le terrain. Cette étude visait à identifier les pratiques actuelles dans les programmes canadiens de MD, PHT et ERG et de les comparer avec des recommandations retrouvées dans la littérature.

MÉTHODES: Un sondage en ligne a été envoyé à tous les départements de MD, PHT et ERG (n = 45). Le sondage contenait 24 questions fermées et 18 questions ouvertes. Une analyse thématique ainsi que des statistiques descriptives ont été utilisées sur les données recensées, et les résultats ont été comparés avec des recommandations identifiées dans la littérature.

RÉSULTATS: Au total, 23 programmes ont répondu au sondage. Le processus de sélection varie d’une université à l’autre; quelques exemples incluent l’utilisation des résultats académiques et d’entrevues de sélection. Tous les programmes sauf un en MD offrent une FPD; les thèmes couverts, les méthodes d’enseignement, ainsi que la durée (2–38 heures) varient. Tous les programmes sauf un en MD assurent une supervision sur le terrain. Le débreffage n’est pas systématique, mais est similaire chez ceux qui l’offrent; la durée de celui-ci est variable (1–8 heures).

CONCLUSIONS: Si plusieurs des pratiques actuelles sont encourageantes, certaines pourraient être améliorées. Intégrer la formation en santé mondiale dans le curriculum et avoir des cours d’option avancés en santé mondiale permettraient aux universités de mieux standardiser leurs pratiques.

Mots clés

santé mondiale médecine physiothérapie ergothérapie étudiant 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine and of Health SciencesUniversity of Sherbrooke, School of RehabilitationSherbrookeCanada
  2. 2.Research Centre from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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