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MDs sought for "innovative" program for health care leaders

As a course designed to encourage health care improvement enters its tenth year, the CMA is reminding physicians that the team-based program provides a unique opportunity for them to lead change where they practise and within the health care system itself.

"The EXTRA program is tailor-made for physicians who want to apply research findings directly in their workplace," then CMA President Ruth Collins-Nakai said when the program was launched a decade ago.

The CMA's current president, Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, says that description still applies to the course, which is formally known as the EXTRA Program for Healthcare Improvement. "Since its launch 300 people, including close to 50 doctors, have participated, and they have done some genuinely innovative work on everything from electronic medical records to reducing health inequities," Francescutti said. "It also ties in perfectly with the CMA's ongoing campaign focusing on physician innovation."

EXTRA is operated by the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI), and Francescutti noted that the CMA has been a partnering organization since "day one."

Under the 14-month program, teams of up to four "health leaders" design, implement and evaluate an improvement project within their own organization or using multi-site teams. The goal is to promote stronger management skills and to encourage the use of evidence for quality and performance improvement.

EXTRA, a fully bilingual program, has five components:

  • a half-day orientation session, held via webinar
  • three away-from-home residency sessions lasting a total of about three weeks
  • work at the home organization to design and implement the innovation project
  • completion of an e-learning curriculum between residency sessions
  • collaboration and network building

Application details are available online, and additional information is available from Linda Piazza, the senior director of education and training at CFHI,

The application deadline for the 2014 program is Feb. 5, 2014.

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