Academica Group collaborates on IEHP bridging program research

February 26, 2015

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has published a new evaluation of postsecondary bridging programs for internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs). The research was conducted by Academica Group in collaboration with researchers from Western University, the University of Ottawa, McMaster University, the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists, and the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science. It examined 7 bridging programs, finding that in spite of differences between programs, each faced similar challenges around finding clinical placements for students. Funding was another common challenge; many programs received pilot funding, but were then expected to rely on tuition fees. However, variable labour market demand and immigration policies have led to fluctuating enrolment numbers, hampering long-term planning. The report recommends designing programs that offer theoretical learning alongside a practical component that should include the opportunity to learn about the Canadian workplace and the Canadian healthcare system. The report also recommends offering flexible, modular program delivery; hiring faculty who are particularly sensitive to the needs of IEHPs; better inclusion and coordination of stakeholders; sustainable and coordinated funding; and a centralized registry of bridging programs. HEQCO Summary | Full Report