Intercountry collaboration to create an innovative pathway for a culturally responsive health workforce: Lessons learned from Knowledge Keepers Forum

Theme 4. Education
Session Name 4.12 Creating knowledge and developing practices:Arctic citizen science in quality education and decent work
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Lorna Butler (University of Saskatchewan, Canada), Suzanne Moller (Ilisimatusarfik, University of Greenland, Greenland), Kirsti Kuosa (UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, Norway), Lois Berry (University of Saskatchewan, Canada), Pauline Olesen (Ilisimatusarfik, University of Greenland, Greenland)
Abstract text

Universities are well positioned to provide leadership in developing a local health professional workforce in northern communities, yet on-site opportunities for post-secondary education have been a significant challenge, due to geographical barriers, reluctance to change methods and delivery of teaching and a lack of available resources. For many northern students the reality of attending university requires them to leave their communities and for those who do, attrition rates remain high. Distributed learning, using advanced technologies offers possibilities that can be tailored for programs, faculty, and individual students.  Given the low numbers of health professionals in rural and remote northern communities, collaboration is essential for effective service delivery. This creates excellent opportunities for interprofessional education of health professionals.


A Knowledge Keepers Forum was held in Nuuk, Greenland with participation from Norway, Canada, Denmark and Greenland. Representatives were from post-secondary institutions, health care organizations in remote community settings, leaders of health region – urban and rural, Ministry level policy- makers long term care facilities, and patient advocates.


The outcome of the Forum demonstrated that although foundations were evident, more work is needed to create a plan for distributed learning and interprofessional education that could be shared across the circumpolar region. Suggestions included the opportunity to experience a rural and remote community with more traditional stories and experiences and local knowledge is not necessarily traditional knowledge. Linking education to culture and existing best practices would strengthen a pathway. Beginning with a focus on distributed, interprofessional, continuing education of existing health professionals would aid success.

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