THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – Dr. Salima Oukachbi, a physician in the Hospitalist department at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), has been recognized for her outstanding contribution to the education of Physician Assistants in Northwestern Ontario.
The Canadian Physician Assistant Education Association (CPAEA) and the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) present the Physician Assistant Educator Award annually to an individual who has made a significant impact on the education of PAs in Canada. Recipients must demonstrate rapport and trust with students; respect for diversity; advocacy on behalf of students; engagement in altruistic activities, and must exemplify integrity and honesty.
“The selection criteria for this prestigious award is quite involved and highlights the utmost dedication and professionalism which Dr. Salima Oukachbi has exhibited in the education of Physician Assistants at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre,” says John Shea, PA Clinical Coordinator at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
“The education and clinical learning opportunities of Physician Assistants are vital to meet their professional competencies and needs. The TBRHSC Hospitalists program has been an integral part of the PA program’s Northern clinical placements since day one. Dr. Oukachbi has been a mentor and preceptor for several years and it is a fitting accolade to her commitment to PA education that she was bestowed the CPAEA Educator of the Year award.”
“Dr. Oukachbi’s award is evidence of our role as a leading Academic Health Sciences Centre to facilitate quality patient care through excellence in teaching and learning,” says Dr. Stewart Kennedy, Executive Vice-President, Medical and Academic Affairs, TBRHSC.
Dr. Oukachbi says that to continue to expand the PA profession within the province and the rest of the country, ensuring that we maintain the highest caliber of student and graduates of the program is very important. “Providing excellence in the development of high quality learning opportunities and investing in learners ensures that, moving forward, Physician Assistant graduates will be well equipped to enter the workplace and continue to provide care in a competent, safe, and up to date practice,” she says.
“Healthcare must constantly adapt to meet changing circumstances. There is a large demand for healthcare in Canada, with many needs not being met at this time. Physician Assistants have been shown to improve quality of care, decrease wait times for patients and deliver enhanced efficiency in a cost effective manner.”
Approximately 4.5 million Canadians do not have access to a primary care provider and most have great difficulty in accessing medical care in a timely manner. PAs are a part of the solution. Through a collaborative partnership with supervising physicians, PAs work within a multidisciplinary patient-centered model of care. In this role, PAs can diagnose and treat patients in a manner that allows for a better distribution of time and resources within the team. PAs are currently practicing in many areas of our health care system. They are instrumental in improving access to safe high quality medical care and reducing wait times for patients.
PAs are also helping to address the health human resource challenges that exist across Canada. “Working as a PA in Thunder Bay, I know firsthand how challenging it can be for patients to access quality care,” says Shea. “The PA, as part of a collaborative team, has allowed us the ability to contribute positively by improving access to care and enhancing the overall quality of care that patients are receiving.”