Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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4 - Glossary of intervention terms

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The perception among implementation stakeholders that a given service, practice, or innovation is agreeable, palatable, or satisfactory. Acceptability should be assessed based on the stakeholder's knowledge of or direct experience with various dimensions of the intervention to be implemented, such as its content, complexity, or comfort. We refer here particularly to social acceptability, which addresses the acceptability of the intervention in the context of the culture of the society in which the users operate.


A particular form of quality assurance which leads to the formal approval of an institution or programme that has been found by a legitimate body to meet predetermined and agreed upon standards, eventually resulting in an accredited status granted to that provider or programme by responsible authorities. Accreditation can be awarded by an external quality assurance agency, such as in the United States, or both can be separated, as in the Dutch-Flemish accreditation system. As in the Australian system, accreditation can also be given by the institution itself, which is then “self-accrediting”.

Active participation

Defines a high level of engagement in planning and proactive contribution with regard to governance and policy formation.

Active recruitment

The process of generating a pool of potential applicants (students) rather than merely tapping one, or of attempting to favourably influence a potential student’s decision to enter a programme of health professional education.

Adjunct faculty

Faculty hired on a part-time or temporary basis. (i.e., Any instructor teaching courses whose compensation in salary and/or fringe benefits is not equal to the compensation received by full-time contractual faculty.)


The process whereby a profession or occupation voluntarily establishes competency standards for itself. Certification plays a helpful role in protecting the public, especially in cases where the state legislatures have not opted to regulate the profession or occupation through licensure. However, there are broad variations in this voluntary process.


A combination of the essential knowledge, abilities, skills and values necessary for the practice of health promotion.

Compulsory service

A country's law or policy that governs the mandatory deployment of health workers in remote or rural areas for a certain period of time, with the aim to ensure availability of services in these areas. It can be either imposed by the government (for positions that are under government employment), or linked to various other policies.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

Training which is beyond clinical update and includes wide-ranging competencies like research and scientific writing; multidisciplinary context of patient care; professionalism and ethical practice; communication, leadership, management and behavioural skills; team building; information technology; auditing; and appropriate attitudinal change to ensure improved patient service and research outcomes and attainment of the highest degree of satisfaction by stakeholders. CPD includes education methods beyond the didactic, embodies concepts of self-directed learning and personal development, and considers organizational and systemic factors.

Core competencies

The minimum set of competencies that constitute a common baseline for all health promotion roles (i.e. what all health promotion practitioners are expected to be capable of doing to work efficiently, effectively, and appropriately in the field).

Core curriculum

A curriculum, or course of study, which is deemed central and usually made mandatory for all students of a school or school system.

Direct admission

An admissions system which builds on previous learning experience and provides a way for individuals from relevant undergraduate, postgraduate, or other educational programs to transition into higher levels of health professional studies.


Whether or not something can be accomplished given specific conditions and criteria. Common variables suggestive of feasibility include economic cost and resources available in the area or community necessary to implement the program; organizational rules that may interfere in the implementation and carrying out of a given agenda, such as laws, ethics, and so forth; and receptivity of parallel, cooperative, or divergent agencies in the community necessary to sustain ongoing productivity of the new program.

Financial assistance

Encompassing all forms of monetary aid for students, including any grant, loan, tuition assistance, scholarships, fellowships, tax credits, savings subsidies, or other arrangement by which an entity provides or otherwise makes available monetary support to a student for undergraduate or postgraduate training.


The system, composed of structures and processes, through which faculty, administrators, and other campus constituents make collective institutional decisions. The concept of governance is meant to include not only the control of decisions about the operations of educational institutions, but also control over the decisions made regarding their objectives. Such structures might include, for example, advisory boards, governing boards, councils, boards of governors, boards of trustees, senates, or committees operating on various matters within an institution.


Broadly defined as the underlying foundation or basic framework of a system or organization. We refer here specifically to material infrastructure, which includes the laboratory, office, lecture, and instrument room spaces that faculty, students and staff need for various learning activities.

In-service training

Training received while one is fully employed in the health sector. The aim is to equip health workers or the trainers of health workers with the skills to deliver specific interventions.

Inter-professional education

Faculty and students from two or more health professions engaged in learning with, from, and about each other in all components of curricula including the practical ones, to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.

Joint appointment

A formalized agreement between two institutions where an individual holds a position in both institutions and carries out defined responsibilities.

Ladder programme

A system of employee salary progression that provides for advancement through a set of graded steps or levels. Progression on the ladder occurs in relation to achievement.


The process whereby a governmental authority, in accordance with state statute, determines the competency of individuals seeking to perform certain services. Through licensure, state governments grant individuals the authority to engage in an area of practice, generally to the exclusion of others, based on demonstrated education, experience, and examination. As a general rule, state governments possess the authority to discipline licensees who fail to comply with statutes and regulations and to take action against unlicensed individuals who practice within the scope of a licensed profession or occupation.

Regulatory bodies

A national organization, external to an institution, charged with the responsibility of setting and maintaining educational and practice standards for a profession, and controlling entry into the profession (i.e. accreditation).

Research capacity

The collective capability of education faculty to conduct independent research or to contribute to interdisciplinary research.

Results-based financing

A cash payment or non-monetary transfer made to a national or sub-national government, manager, provider, payer or consumer of health services after predefined results have been attained and verified. Payment is conditional on measurable actions being undertaken.

Retention (of students)

A programme outcome involving the maintenance of a student’s satisfactory progress toward his or her pedagogical objective until it is attained.

Return of service commitment

An arrangement whereby a health worker in training or a fully trained health worker enters into a contract to work for a number of years in an underserved area in exchange for a financial or in-kind incentive.

Rural population

A population of an area that is not urban in nature, where ‘urban’ delineates the contours of a contiguous territory inhabited at urban density levels without regard to administrative boundaries. Recognizing the absence of a universal or standardized definition of ‘rural’ meaningful in an international context, the diversity of definitions commonly utilized in the literature may also be accepted, based on factors including distance from nearest urban centre, population density, common nature of employment, government structures, degree of isolation, and distance from nearest ‘major hospital’ or high-level health care institution.

Scope of practice

The activities that an individual health professional performs in the delivery of patient care. Scope of practice reflects the types of patients for whom the health professional can care as well as what procedures/activities the health professional can perform, and influences the ability of the health professional to seek reimbursement for services provided. Determining scope of practice includes advanced practice education in a role and specialty, legal implications, and scope of practice statements as published by national professional specialty and advanced practice organizations.

Streamlined educational pathway

A means of connecting education, training, and support services to prepare students for the next level of education and training. Each step on a streamlined pathway is designed explicitly to prepare students to progress to the next level of education. (e.g., through multiple entry points and innovative programme delivery mechanisms such as flexible scheduling). Streamlined nursing education programme might, for example, ensure that registered nurses who wish to advance their nursing expertise and career by enrolling in a higher degree in nursing can do so without having to repeat the same courses and content they have already mastered; associated regulations would thus prohibit institutions from requiring a student who already holds a nursing license or relevant lower-level degree to complete coursework whose content they have already covered in a previous course of study.

Targeted admission policy

A policy that provides a number of reserved places in limited-entry undergraduate or postgraduate programmes for applicants from groups that are underrepresented and/or disadvantaged in terms of gaining access to a university education and for whom participation in the programme will assist in achieving equal educational opportunity.

Trans-professional education

Health professionals learning with, from, and about non-professional health workers, especially basic and ancillary health workers, administrators and managers, policy makers, and leaders of the local community. The intention is to break down professional silos while enhancing collaborative and non-hierarchical relationships in effective teams.


The establishment of a formal link between a specific department/institution in a developed country and a corresponding department/institution in the developing world.

Underrepresented population

A racial or ethnic population that is underrepresented in healthcare professions relative to their numbers in the general population.

Underserved population

Interpreted in the broadest sense, a relatively poorer population inhabiting an area with limited access to qualified health care providers and health services of adequate quality. May include, for example, populations occupying the following types of settings: remote rural areas; small or remote islands; urban slum areas; areas that are in conflict or post-conflict; refugee camps; and areas inhabited by minority or indigenous groups.