An Update on EQual -Accreditation Canada’s health education accreditation program

February 16, 2021

EQualTM, Accreditation Canada (AC)’s specialized health education accreditation program, started 2021 on a positive note, adding Physician Assistant to its existing list of 17 other health professions and more than 200 accredited education programs.

“We’re happy to welcome Physician Assistants as partners and look forward to assisting this growing profession to continue to benefit from quality education,” says Carl Damour, Director Health Education Accreditation at AC. “Physician Assistants work collaboratively and closely with all other health professions and by continuing to work collaboratively with all health professions, we are showing our commitment and ability to be real quality education providers and solution drivers.”

In 2017, AC was selected by a group of health professions within Canada to provide accreditation services for professional, entry to practice, education programs. The program involves a six-stage accreditation process conducted over a six-year cycle.

Moving towards Cultural Competency
Damour notes that moving into 2021, EQual is focused on ensuring educational systems are in place that ensure all professional health care graduates possess the required entry to practice, cultural competencies. This focus is in alignment with AC and Health Standards Organization (HSO)’s goal to implement a new Cultural Safety and Humility standard. EQual’s focused strategy aims to ensure that the new health care workforce, across its 18 program professions, are ready to deliver culturally safe and humble care reflective of today and tomorrow’s health care needs.

Damour adds that cultural competencies and awareness must be learned early on in health professional development. Students are then able to implement and hone these skills throughout practicum and as they continue to practice. “Upcoming professionals need to understand what culture is and how to apply that knowledge into their profession,” he says. “They need to be able to translate how being culturally aware and being culturally sensitive will lead to better culturally safe, competent and humble care.”

Damour says this is why EQual has recently submitted a federal grant application for a project that aims to assist professional agencies, associated with the EQual program, to update their competency profile. “We have an opportunity here to make real impactful and meaningful contributions to the cultural competence of health professionals, if we do it at the entry to practice education level.” Damour adds: “The project would allow learning from experiences, the evaluation of current cultural competencies and also, allow us to capture meaningful educational program data to inform integration of new cultural competencies.”

Damour also adds that this new lens for EQual aims to take “a broad view” of cultural competency, but it would also allow for specificity related to Indigenous and other cultures. He notes: “Cultural competency needs vary across the world. While we must focus on Canadian health care needs, it is also equally important that our framework reflects Canada’s multiculturalism.”

Ongoing Surveyor Recruitment
Damour notes that EQual relies on its pool of professional, qualified surveyors. EQual is always looking for more surveyors to join its team. He adds: “EQual surveyors must be commended for their dedication and contributions to their professions.” Damour says EQual surveyors are experienced practitioners and educators/preceptors who volunteer their time to improve their chosen profession. “They give so much to the accreditation program, to enhance their profession’s education,” he says.

If you are an experienced health professional who also has experience as a professional educator, instructor or preceptor, consider becoming an EQual surveyor. Learn more here.