The Canadian Interprofessional Health Leadership Collaborative (CIHLC) is a multi-institutional and interprofessional partnership, led by the University of Toronto in partnership with the University of British Columbia, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Queen’s University and Université Laval. The CIHLC was chosen by the U.S. Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Board on Global Health as one of four innovation collaboratives around the world (including South Africa, Uganda and India) tasked with incubating and piloting ideas called for by the Lancet Commission Report, Health Professionals for a New Century: Transforming Education to Strengthen Health Systems in an Interdependent World. CIHLC’s vision is collaborative leadership for health system change to globally transform education and health.
The Lancet Commission outlined a number of factors that lead to inequities in global health, including a mismatch of competencies to population needs; poor teamwork stemming from a tendency of professions to work in silos; a technical and episodic focus rather than a broader contextual and continuous care lens; and weak leadership to improve health system performance.
In the 21st century, health systems have become so complex that they cannot be managed effectively by relying on traditional leadership approaches. Therefore, the CIHLC will develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate an evidence-based and commercially viable collaborative leadership education program. Targeted to health care leaders, practitioners and students, the program will define and confer the competencies required to lead systems change in order to confront complex health challenges.
The development of the program is based on: a scoping review of the concept of collaborative leadership, an environmental scan of existing leadership programs, key information interviews with health system leaders, a comprehensive literature review of curriculum for leadership development, and pilot testing of the leadership program with a first cohort of leaders. The pilot test will be evaluated in order to assess planned and emergent change at the individual, practice and system levels.
The CIHLC’s work is grounded in the principles of social accountability. The program was developed according to the best practices of community engagement and includes the principles that collaborative leaders should apply in their own social accountability or that of their organizations.
The CIHLC comprises the University of Toronto as lead, with University of British Columbia, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Queen’s University and Université Laval as partners. As the leading institution, the University of Toronto strives to foster uncommon dialogues that cut across disciplines and geography, seeking points of intersection that will point to solutions. Other innovation collaboratives located in South Africa, Uganda, and India have already indicated interest in working with the CIHLC to collaborate on and disseminate the lessons learned from these different projects.
The program will produce a new breed of collaborative health leaders who can effectively engage across health professions, health care workers, patients, families, and community members in community, hospital and primary care settings. These community-engaged, socially accountable collaborative leaders will support health system transformation and ultimately contribute to the larger national and global agendas for economic development and human security.