Greetings from Ottawa Canada, where we saw Parliament Hill, ate poutine, and made new friends! We’re writing to tell you about our experience with the Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Care Conference known as “Shared Care” where we (Jodi and Jen) attended as invited guests this June.
Unlike CFHA, the Canadian event is an annual conference, not an organization, though it has some affiliation with the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Another striking difference was the value placed on patient experience. Each year, a patient is invited to present his or her perspective as a keynote speaker. This year, a talented musician explained her preference for the term “patient” to describe her role within her healthcare, and helped the audience recognize the strengths and weaknesses within the current system in Canada using her own personal experiences. Her stories were deeply moving and we appreciated that Collaborative Care in Canada has incorporated this important perspective into their conference.
But Shared Care is more similar to CFHA than different. Importantly, its attendees have the same passion for integration and collaborative practice models. The conference instilled in us the same renewed enthusiasm for the value of integration. Like CFHA, it provided many creative ideas on how to improve our clinical research/practices.
Like CFHA, the Canadian conference is trying to grow capacity for research and evaluation, especially for clinician innovators in the “real world.” We (Jodi and Jen) were excited to hear what they were doing in this area, since we have led that effort within CFHA. Dr. Nadiya Sunderji, the Chair of the Scientific Committee for this year’s conference developed a “Works in Progress” or WIP format that has many similarities to our own Research and Evaluation Training Track. I (Nadiya) was thrilled to have Jodi and Jen as coaches providing feedback to Canada clinicians wishing to evaluate their integrated care programs, and advising me regarding this type of capacity building within the conference. Thank you for playing in the WIPs sandbox with us! Like at CFHA, we (Jodi and Jen) loved hearing about the hard work of various clinician innovators who are striving to evaluate what they do in an effort to drive the literature and practice in integrated care.
We also co-presented a workshop together to introduce participants to evaluation based on Nadiya and colleagues’ new Quality Framework to Guide Measurement, Improvement, and Research. This work continues to challenge us to think about choices in evaluation in the service of local quality improvement versus generalizable knowledge, and we plan to explore that dilemma further next year.
Our experience in Ottawa left us hoping for more cross-pollination between CFHA and Shared Care. We have much to learn from one another! Next year’s Canadian conference will be in Toronto in May or June 2018. Apart from the conference, Toronto has much to offer visitors as Canada’s largest city, and the most ethnically diverse city in the world – food, nightlife, parks, museums and other attractions… and did we mention food? We hope you will consider attending! But, if not, stay tuned, we’ll have a Canadian presence at CFHA in 2018 as well.