As Dr. Cheng reflects on the leadership and advocacy skills she acquired through the development and implementation of her ELiHP project, she notes how the project “helped me develop abilities in interacting with the community in promoting good health, with the ultimate goal of benefitting seniors living with a major neurocognitive disorder.
“This project also taught me about the research process and helped me develop skills and greater confidence in navigating a complex health care system,” Dr. Cheng adds. “It was an inspiring experience, as an early career clinician, to see the impact that physicians can make through health promotion and advocacy.”
Mentorship and collegial support
Dr. Cheng’s mentor for her ELiHP project was Dr. John McCahill, a geriatric psychiatrist at the Villa Caritas Hospital in Edmonton. Dr. McCahill has been working with seniors with dementia and their caregivers for many years and has extensive knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis and management of individuals with major neurocognitive disorders. Dr. McCahill’s clinical expertise contributed to the development of the multi-sensory dementia tool and to the identification of the effect that the tool would have on older adults. “His familiarity with the organization of geriatric psychiatric services in the Edmonton zone was also invaluable,” Dr. Cheng notes.
In addition to her gratitude for Dr. McCahill’s guidance, Dr. Cheng acknowledges the assistance and support of Dr. Jorge Perez-Parada and Dr. Glen Baker, who provided feedback and input at various stages of the project.
Final word … physicians as health promoters
“The Emerging Leaders in Health Promotion grant program provided a unique opportunity to explore the fundamental role of physicians as health promoters and advocates in the community,” comments Dr. Cheng. “I learned the importance of health promotion and advocacy in disease prevention and patient care, beyond the treatment of disease processes,” she adds.
About the ELiHP grant program
The Emerging Leaders in Health Promotion (ELiHP) grant program provides funding to help medical students and resident physicians conceive and implement health promotion projects in support of the development of their CanMEDS/FM core competencies, particularly health advocacy.
Sponsored by the Alberta Medical Association, MD Financial Management, the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiary, Joule, ELiHP projects facilitate the growth of physician leadership and advocacy skills in a mentored environment, while enhancing the well-being of the general Alberta population through education, advocacy and innovative care.