New micro-credential addresses health-economics skills gap
Athabasca University receives $330,000 in funding to develop new health economics micro-credential
Athabasca University (AU) has received $330,000 in provincial funding to develop a micro-credential that will help health professionals and others better understand the impact of their work and decision-making, including the benefits and costs to patients and the health-care system.
The university’s professional development arm, PowerED™, and the Faculty of Health Disciplines will partner with the Institute of Health Economics (IHE) to develop the 4-course micro-credential. According to the IHE, total health spending in Canada reached $308 billion in 2021, representing 12.7% of Canada’s gross domestic product.
“Health economics is every health professional’s business,” said Dr. Alex Clark, dean of the Faculty of Health Disciplines.
“It’s important for Canadian society to focus on health economics. When it comes to effective health care, we have to think not just about benefits but about costs. That way we can work with government and decision–makers to ensure Canadians get the best, and also the most sustainable health care.”
“Health economics is every health professional’s business.”– Dr. Alex Clark, dean of the Faculty of Health Disciplines
Filling a skills-gap
As of March 1, 2022, there were over 3,500 unfilled health economics jobs in Alberta. The health economics micro-credential will provide Albertans with job-ready skills to secure stable and high-paying jobs, said Ian Stephenson, PowerED™ interim manager of professional development and partnerships.
“Collaborating with partners like the IHE provides access to immense subject matter expertise and aligning with the Faculty of Health Disciplines will allow us to continue to support our commitment to life-long learning and the AU community,” said Stephenson.
Flexibility for students
The new micro-credential represents a flexible way of learning for health professionals to learn about health economics.
Students choose micro-credentials for many different reasons, explained Clark, so it’s important that universities recognize the diversity of learners and the skills gaps that micro-credentials address.
Stephenson added that PowerED™ is committed to providing tangible learning experiences with rich multimedia and engaging interactive components that allow learners to take learning from theory to practice.
“PowerED™’s digital-first content, and its flexible online offering provides flexibility for learners to engage with content at a time and place that is right for them and then deploy learning for immediate impact,” he said.
“PowerED’s digital-first content, and its flexible online offering provides flexibility for learners to engage with content at a time and place that is right for them and then deploy learning for immediate impact.”– Ian Stephenson, PowerED™ interim manager of professional development and partnerships
Other micro-credentials on the horizon
In 2021, PowerED™ and the Faculty of Science and Technology received $1 million in provincial funding to support the development of 3 other micro-credentials in Artificial Intelligence Ethics; Energy Efficiency in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction; and Innovative and Diversified Energy Resources.