Executive Medical Director, Continuing Professional Development, University of British Columbia
Bob Bluman has been envisioning, developing and delivering continuing professional development (CPD) for over 35 years, merging his experience as an educator, clinician and forward thinker. In leading UBC’s Division of CPD he has forged partnerships, translated scientific discoveries to the point-of-care and rejected cookie-cutter approaches to adult learning.
Each year UBC CPD develops and evaluates over 150 education programs, and certifies over 300 more; health professionals can then complete these programs for education credits. In doing so, the CPD program is a vehicle to achieve improvements and is a powerful lever for change.
Traditionally, didactic learning has dominated CPD, which often meant learners invested significant time in courses that were not customized to their learning needs and which were usually delivered in urban centres. This was often an inefficient and ineffective use of time – but it was necessary to keep skills current.
Bob knew there had to be a better way to make CPD more effective and accessible. Not only could health care providers be better served through tailored and innovative approaches, but patient safety, outcomes and experiences could be improved. Through his leadership, UBC CPD is enhancing the skills of health professionals throughout British Columbia and around the world, including 9,000 clinical faculty members at the university alone with a focus of CPD directed towards meaningful practice and quality improvement.
Bob’s many accomplishments include launching ThisChangedMyPractice.com, an online resource which allows clinicians to outline to others the impactful practice changes they have made or would recommend to others. More than 19,000 people receive email updates from the website, which has won awards from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. He also initiated and helped develop the CFPC award-winning program called “eCoach” which is an online self-directed assessment tool which supports a clinician or team to follow a step by step process towards making a successful and measureable practice improvement.
Bob also started the BC Physician Integration Program, which supports international medical graduates as they move from the provisional registry to full licensure to practice medicine in BC, as well as the UBC Rural CPD Program, which brings rurally relevant training and online learning opportunities to rural practitioners and communities. Clinical coaching and mentoring programs help rural practitioners develop relationships to meet their clinical and non-clinical goals as well as support practitioner resilience, recruitment and retention. Bob has also been the initiator and co-principal investigator on a soon to be released landmark study of a rural CQI needs assessment.
Unsurprisingly, colleagues rave about Bob’s leadership. He has created a working environment that inspires open communication, collaboration and innovation. His energy and attention to detail encourage others to maintain high standards and strive for excellence, and he is known for his sensitivity and communication skills.
In addition to helping to develop the skills and effectiveness of BC’s health professionals, Bob’s work has led to guideline and policy changes which not only improve practice and patient care, but also ensure that high educational standards are being followed in all CPD activities. His efforts have resulted in significant improvements in the quality of care currently being delivered in BC and elsewhere and will continue to have great impact for many years to come.