Empowering Emerging Researchers and Practitioners in Integrated Care: A Recap and reflections on ERPIC activities at ICIC24

Empowering Emerging Researchers and Practitioners in Integrated Care: A Recap and reflections on ERPIC activities at ICIC24

Reflecting on the 24th International Conference on Integrated Care in Belfast, we are inspired by the wealth of knowledge shared and the meaningful connections made. The conference, as always, was a great experience and provided a platform for leaders, researchers, clinicians, managers, community representatives, patients, and caregivers from around the world to come together and explore innovative approaches to integrated care delivery. One of the most striking aspects of the conference was the diversity of perspectives and experiences represented. From discussions on culturally sensitive care delivery to insights into the unique challenges faced by different healthcare systems, the conference underscored the importance of embracing diversity in our approach to integrated care and how to make integrated care a reality for people and communities. From the Emerging Researchers and Practitioners in Integrated Care (ERPIC) point of view, our mission is clear: to continue to foster collaboration, learning, mentorship, and skill development among the next generation of integrated care stakeholders.

ERPIC aims to provide opportunities for emerging researchers and professionals to network, collaborate and engage in peer-to-peer relationships and mentorships to advance the field of integrated and person-centred care, which can improve patient outcomes, experiences of care, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of care delivery and health systems, and the satisfaction of healthcare workforce (the Quadruple Aim). ERPIC will achieve this by strengthening the presence of emerging professionals and researchers in the integrated care community and empower them to develop research skills and inter-professional competencies.

During the conference, we organized two distinct workshops to address key facets of our mission. The first workshop, “Mentoring the Next Generation of Integrated Care Stakeholders”, delved into the importance of mentorship in facilitating knowledge transfer, skills development, and career advancement. The second workshop, “Empowering Emerging Researchers and Practitioners in Integrated Care: A Creative Network Session”, provided a platform for participants to connect, collaborate, and explore and shape the future activities of ERPIC.

During the mentorship workshop, everyone agreed about the importance of a network like ERPIC and that a community is needed for people early in their careers in the field of integrated care. At the same time, it emerged that mentorship between more experienced people in the field and people early in their careers is an essential opportunity for learning, knowledge translation, skills development, reflective guidance, career planning and building your network. However, some challenges were highlighted relating to securing commitment from future mentors and mentees, effective matching of mentors and mentees, finding time to invest in mentoring, handling unaligned or unrealistic expectations and delivering a global mentorship program with small resources. The EPRIC mentorship program, launched every second year since 2019, has been successful in that both mentors and mentees have been satisfied and benefited from the mentoring program through mutual learning. However, we have seen a decline in participating mentors and mentees. Hence, we want to encourage senior colleagues and people early in their careers to engage with our mentorship program. Our next cohort is planned for 2025.

Our networking workshop attracted a small but diverse array of participants, including senior colleagues, early-career researchers, and practitioners. It became evident that the network is an important part of the integrated care community. Ideas for future activities ranged from career advice and scientific guidance to opportunities to collaborate, network, and share experiences. Several suggestions on how emerging researchers can have a more prominent role during the ICIC were raised. Examples were a designated parallel stream for junior researchers, a dedicated poster award, and a poster session. Another important topic is the need for ERPIC to reach out and connect to those who might benefit from joining the network, as well as how to engage more active members to participate in realizing the aim and vision of ERPIC. This is an important challenge for the future.

Next Steps and Opportunities for Involvement:

As we look ahead, ERPIC is eager to welcome new members to join the network. At the moment, we are also looking for new Executive Team Committee Members. Look at our website for more information on how to apply, or send us an e-mail. Join us in shaping the future of integrated care and leveraging our collective expertise to drive positive change.

In closing, we extend our gratitude to all who participated in our workshops and contributed to the vibrant discussions. Together, we are forging a path towards a more integrated, person-centered approach to care.

Paul Wankah

Paul Wankah
ERPIC

Sebastian Lindblom

Sebastian Lindblom
ERPIC