With our aging population, there is an increasingly urgent need for people to take on management positions in seniors care – people who combine skills as both practitioners and leaders. The innovative Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) program blends together courses on health and policy with courses in business and leadership to create a unique educational experience.
MHLP students spend 60 per cent of their time in health-care-focused courses, exploring the policies and practices of seniors care in diverse settings. These include classes on the epidemiology of aging – to understand what is happening in the larger context of the aging population – on how health policy informs care, on how to use research and evidence to inform decisions, and on the environmental aspects of seniors care and how the built environment can support successful aging.
The business and leadership classes directly complement these nursing courses, developing our students’ abilities to bring the values they want to underpin seniors care to reality. That’s very important, and it means our students leave the program with the communication, management and leadership skills to manage projects and lead teams so they can translate their beliefs and values into practice.
I’ve been at UBC since 2009 and my research looks at ways to improve the inclusion of families in long-term care. What do elderly adults and their caregivers experience as they go through the health-care system and how can we bring these perspectives into the research literature? It is evident that care needs to be informed by those people who receive it. Families have excellent ideas about how to make the system work more effectively, and I aim to bring that knowledge back to health-care practitioners and leaders, seeing how these ideas can fit within clinical practice guidelines and policies.
For me, the MHLP is particularly exciting because of its interdisciplinary nature. Students with a nursing background have represented about half of our cohort, with the other students coming from the fields of social work, recreational therapy, gerontology, medicine and more. Out students’ diverse perspectives create a very rich and dynamic learning environment.
Dr. Jennifer Baumbusch directs a research program on health-care delivery and nursing practice with older adults. Her focus is particularly in long-term residential care, the integration of families in care delivery, well-being among individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families, and knowledge translation. She has methodological expertise in critical ethnography and practice-close research. Jennifer is committed to community-based research principles through the active engagement of individuals, clinicians, service providers and organizations throughout the research process.