Grant piloting palliative care education in Caribbean

Photo of Rebecca Edwards

By Pareasa Rahimi

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Assistant Professor Rebecca Edwards, PhD, DNP, APRN, ACNP, AOCNP, ACHPN (PhD 2022), has received a $15,000 pilot grant from the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health in the UAB School of Public Health to help develop methods for Jamaican health care professionals to gain and utilize palliative care knowledge and skills to better serve an expanding population of patients with life-limiting serious illnesses.

Edwards’ project, “Pilot-testing a novel Interprofessional Diploma in Palliative Care program,” is a continuation of her dissertation study. It is pilot testing components of a palliative care diploma program for interprofessional providers in Jamaica.

Participants will complete a two-day Caribbean-based course that Edwards is co-leading with Harvard-, Yale- and Caribbean-based global experts. Participants also will complete a two-day clinical shadowing experience, attend at least two Palliative Care in the Caribbean Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes tele-mentoring platform meetings and complete the Pan-American Health Organization’s virtual course on fundamentals of palliative care.

“So many Jamaica-based health care professionals want to provide palliative care and see that this care can profoundly help their patients who are suffering due to serious illnesses, but they’ve had little to no opportunity to learn key skills,” Edwards said. “This project affords 12 physicians, nurses and social workers the opportunity to learn about palliative care and will lead to improvements in the diploma program that will open to Caribbean health care professionals in 2024. We hope that some of the 12 project participants will ultimately enroll in the diploma program.”

According to the project’s Co-PI, Professor and Co-Director of the School’s PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for International Nursing Adelais Markaki, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN, this grant aligns with the Collaborating Centre’s terms of reference to strengthen education and disseminate knowledge based on universal health coverage and access in the Caribbean region.

“This grant is expected to further strengthen the established reciprocal partnerships with institutions and constituents in Jamaica and the West Indies,” Markaki said. “Dr. Edwards’ work taps on the synergies between our WHOCC and the Sparkman Center’s mission to develop sustainable approaches that advance global health equity through interprofessional education.”

The Sparkman Center provides funding to UAB faculty and fellows who propose research projects that support the Sparkman Center’s mission. Edwards is part of the fifth cohort of pilot project grantees.

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