Portal to HIV Education Resources gateway to latest research and practices

By Caroline Dobuzinskis

The website for the Clinical Education and Training Program at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) was created in 2014 to provide educational information regarding HIV to clinicians and health care professionals. Since its launch, it has received accolades and served to provide both online and in-person training to hundreds of healthcare providers, community members and patients across Canada.

The site has a wealth of free tools and information for both patients and their caregivers, including updates in HIV treatment, guidelines and research. For the use of patients and their families, there are lists of resources and community-based supports in British Columbia, searchable by region.

A major goal of the Clinical Education and Training program is to increase the number of healthcare providers in British Columbia — and nationwide — who have the specialized training to help meet the unique needs of patients living with HIV. This will, in turn, lead to increased retention in care and better health outcomes for individuals living with HIV. By ensuring patients are accessing treatment, the health and longevity of people living with HIV can be improved while reducing the chances of HIV transmission. This is the concept behind the Treatment as Prevention® strategy, which serves as the foundation for the BC-CfE Clinical Education and Training Program.

The program helps to meet patients where they are by expanding access to state-of-the-art care within their own communities. A range of training is offered to health care professionals, allied health professionals, community frontline workers and health science students throughout British Columbia and Canada.

For example, physicians and other healthcare professionals can access a full range of online free-of-charge courses developed by BC-CfE experts — targeted to physicians, nurse practitioners, allied health care professionals and others. The online course, “Working Together: Interprofessional Care in HIV”, provides an introduction to providing interdisciplinary care and support for people living with HIV. This course is targeted at diverse teams of clinicians, nurses, community workers and allied healthcare professionals. “HIV Diagnosis and Management” offers comprehensive and evidence-based knowledge about the diagnosis and management of HIV/AIDS. This course was recently updated in September 2016 and certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) for 10 Self-Learning Mainpro+ certified credits.

In addition, the website hosts recorded videos of various educational events, ranging from biweekly clinical rounds for hospital staff to public lectures featuring speakers working in the field of HIV/AIDS from various health, research and medical disciplines. Regular webinars, conducted in partnership with Positive Living B.C, are broadcast live and offer opportunities for care providers and community members in remote rural regions to access information about HIV and to interact with BC-CfE experts from afar.

For physicians, the BC-CfE Clinical Education website provides a link to the University of British Columbia Department of Family Practice R3 Enhanced Skills program in HIV /AIDS. The program offers a variety of clinical placements for three months. Preceptees get in-person, hands-on experience in providing primary and specialized care to HIV positive patients.

The accredited Intensive Preceptorship Program offered by the BC-CfE supports the professional growth and development of primary care practitioners within British Columbia. The multi-modular training program consists of an online course, clinical placements and a three-month mentorship. The program was developed in 2011, and has since trained more than 57 family physicians and 19 nurse practitioners from across the province. This has led to a significant impact on the number of patients seen by those physicians and on the health outcomes of their patients. The Intensive Preceptorship Program was recognized in 2016, with the CFPC Continuing Professional Development Award for providing an exceptional learning experience to practicing CFPC members.

“The BC-CfE is providing a pathway to accessible resources, educational programs and information on the treatment of those with HIV,” said Dr. Silvia Guillemi, Director of the BC-CfE Clinical Education and Training Program and assistant medical director at the Immunodeficiency Clinic (IDC) at St. Paul’s Hospital.

Visit the Clinical Education website today: http://education.cfenet.ubc.ca/. For more information about any of the Clinical Education programs at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, please contact us at Education@cfenet.ubc.ca.

Caroline Dobuzinskis is a Communications Coordinator at The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.