Participant-reported effect of an Indigenous health continuing professional development initiative for specialists
BMC Medical Education
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Background: Health outcomes of Indigenous patients are impacted by culturally unsafe specialty care environments. The ‘Educating for Equity (E4E)’ program is a continuing professional development (CPD) intervention which incorporates skill-based teaching to improve Indigenous patient experiences and outcomes in healthcare interactions. Methods: The E4E program was delivered to rheumatologists in two phases, each delivered as experiential learning workshops where participants engaged with and applied course content within an interactive format focusing on real-time feedback. The phase 1 workshop focused on skill development of E4E Framework concepts and principles. Phase 2 concentrated on building capacity for teaching of E4E content. Evaluation of the program’s effectiveness was through longitudinal responses to the Social Cultural Confidence in Care Survey (SCCCS), self-reported strategies employed to address social issues and improve therapeutic relationships, engagement with teaching others, and satisfaction with the program. Results: Two cohorts of participants have participated in the program (n = 24 Phase 1, n = 10 Phase 2). For participants completing both phases of training, statistically significant improvements were observed in exploring social factors with patients, gaining knowledge and skills related to cultural aspects of care, improved communication and relationship building, and reflections on held stereotypes. Strategies to address social issues and build therapeutic relationships remained consistent throughout participation, while the training enhanced exploration and confidence to ask about cultural and traditional practices, and stronger communication strategies for exploring beliefs, expectations, social barriers, and residential school impacts on health. Participants reported feeling prepared to teach Indigenous health concepts to others and subsequently lead teaching with residents, fellows, and allied health professionals. Satisfaction with the delivery and content of the workshops was high, and participants valued interactions with peers in learning. Conclusions: This CPD intervention had a beneficial impact on self-reported confidence and enhanced practice strategies to engage with Indigenous patients.