Not just another multi-professional course Part I: rationale for a transformative curriculum

Trevor John Gibbs, M Alperstein, P Mayers, L Olckers, T Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Undergraduate inter- and multi-professional education has traditionally aimed to develop health professionals who are able to collaborate effectively in comprehensive healthcare delivery. The respective professions learn from and about each other through comparisons of roles, responsibilities, powers, duties and perspectives in order to promote integrated set-vice. Described here is the educational rationale of a multi-professional course with a difference; one that injects value to undergraduate health professional education through the development of critical cross-field knowledge, skills and attitudes that unite rather than differentiate professions. The aim of this course, offered at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, is to lay an integrated, pan-professional foundation for the advancement of collective commitment to and understanding of national health and social development objectives such as primary health care, human rights and professionalism. Pan-professional refers to curriculum content that is core and of critical relevance to all participating professions. What is learned, how it is learned, how learning is facilitated and how it is applied, has been co-constructed by a multi-professional design team representing a range of health professions (audiology, medicine, occupational therapy, nursing, physiotherapy and speech therapy) and academic disciplines (anthropology, sociology, psychology, history, African studies and social development, information technology and language literacy). Education specialists facilitate the ongoing design process ensuring that the structure and content of the curriculum complies with contemporary adult learning principles and national higher education imperatives. Designing the original curriculum required the deconstruction of intra-professional and disciplinary canons of knowledge and ways of 'doing things' in order to identify and develop shared interpretations of critical epistemology and axiology for health professional practice in the South African context. This enabled the alignment of the learning objectives, at first year level, of all the represented professions. ne educational rationale guiding the curriculum design process is discussed in Part I of two articles. Part 2 describes the 'nuts and bolts' or practicalities of the curriculum design process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-63
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006




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