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Conference Background and History

Conference Background

Pharmacists, like all health care professionals, must constantly upgrade their knowledge and skills to ensure competency for practice. The continuous professional development of pharmacists is an essential issue for educators, regulators, employers and professional associations.

Life long learning has been embraced as a core principle for professional practice in pharmacy throughout the world. The International Federation of Pharmacy’s (FIP) “Seven Star Pharmacist” model includes the notion of continuous professional development. In North America, most regulatory and professional associations require maintenance of competency, in part through life long learning.

Currently, resources for pharmacists engaging in continuous professional development activities are available from a wide variety of sources. Academic institutions, regulatory bodies, professional advocacy groups, and the pharmaceutical industry all play a critical role in developing and delivering high-quality educational programming to meet the needs of pharmacists. Increasingly, there is a wide variety of such programming available, ranging from traditional didactic lectures, to interactive workshops, simulated patient activities, and electronic media offerings. Each of these different instructional methods is meant to build knowledge and skills for the purpose of enhancing the quality of pharmacy practice.

With a wide variety of providers and educational methods, there is a need to ensure co-ordination, co-operation, and collaboration for sharing the best practices among educators. The International Conference on Life Long Learning in Pharmacy provides an important and unique international forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences in the field of continuous professional development.

History of the International Conference on Life Long Learning in Pharmacy

Recognizing the need for communication and partnerships between pharmacy educators, the International Conference on Life Long Learning in Pharmacy held its inaugural meeting in Denmark in 1990. Drawing pharmacy educators and practitioners from around the world, this meeting provided a unique opportunity for individuals and organizations to share best practices and discuss and debate important issues related to pharmacists’ continuing professional development. This meeting concluded with an affirmation of the value of life long learning in pharmacy, a recognition of the need to continue collaboration, and an interest in further exploring the international dimensions of pharmacy practice and education.

Since 1990 the Conference has been held on a periodic basis throughout the world: in the USA in 1994, Denmark in 1998, Northern Ireland in 2000, and South Africa in 2002. A momentum is growing world-wide that recognizes the integral role of continuing professional development in pharmacy practice, and the value of sharing experiences and knowledge in an international, collegial forum.

Each conference is coordinated by the host country. There is no formal internationally funded organization to undertake the task of planning and implementation of the event.

International Conference on Life Long Learning In Pharmacy – Canada 2005

In 2005, Canada will have the opportunity to host this important and prestigious international event. By welcoming the world to Canada, we will have an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others, and develop important multilateral networks of pharmacy educators.

This conference will be an important component of the professional development of those pharmacists and educators (including providers, developers, and sponsors) who work to develop the knowledge and skills of pharmacists. Conference participants will not only have the opportunity to learn, share, and network, they will also be provided with access to high quality educational programming, internationally significant research and development, and world-renowned leaders in the field.

Conference 2005: Practice, Academia and Industry – Building Bridges through Continuous Professional Development

Conference 2005 will focus on development of structures, partnerships, and networks of pharmacy educators. The conference will provide Canadian pharmacy with a unique opportunity to showcase our successes, experiences, and learning with an international audience. An important element of the conference will be the trans-national dimensions of life long learning in pharmacy, including issues related to mutual recognition of education. This conference is unique in the diversity of its participants; few if any other pharmacy conferences will attract such a heterogeneous group of pharmacy educators from around the world, all with a common focus on continuing professional development. It is our goal to reach the widest global audience of pharmacy educators who have direct responsibility for continuing education in a variety of pharmacy settings.

Conference 2005: Building Partnerships

The organization of a conference of this complexity is a significant challenge. To foster a spirit of international co-operation, we are committed to ensuring that delegates to this conference represent all regions of the world, including those in emerging and developing countries. We are committed to building partnerships with pharmacy organizations in Canada and internationally to ensure:

  • the highest quality programming is made available
  • leading-edge speakers in the area of continuous professional development provide lectures, workshops and symposia
  • educational resources and references for conference delegates are made available, to disseminate learning from this conference to the broader pharmacy community
  • networking and socializing opportunities for delegates to build global co-operation

Conclusion

The 6th International Conference on Life Long Learning in Pharmacy - 2005 is an unparalleled opportunity for pharmacy educators from around the world to discuss issues of importance and relevance, and to work towards development of a global community of individuals and groups committed to continuous professional development. Through partnerships with pharmacy industry, organizations, associations, faculties and supporters, we hope to fulfill the mandate of this conference: to provide leading-edge programming and networking opportunities to advance the practice of pharmacy worldwide.