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ASCEND Project Strengthens Nursing Education In Ghana

Jacqueline Choiniere & Christine Kurtz Landy


THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION predicts that by 2030 the world will face a shortage of around 8 million trained nurses. The shortage of trained health care professionals could be devastating for Africa – a continent that bears 25 per cent of the global disease burden but employs only 1.3 per cent of global health care providers.

Collaboration is key to solving the nursing shortage crisis. This year saw the start of a new partnership that will strengthen education, research and care in Ghana, while promoting knowledge and research initiatives within York’s Faculty of Health. Known as Advancing Scholarship and Capacity for Emerging Nursing Doctorates (ASCEND), it represents an agreement between York University’s School of Nursing and the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) based in Ho, Ghana. Jacqueline Choiniere, graduate program director in the School of Nursing and her colleague in the School of Nursing, associate professor Christine Kurtz Landy, are the York leads for the project.

Under the agreement, six master’s prepared faculty members from UHAS will be supported to pursue a PhD in Nursing over a period of seven years. During their program, they will also have the opportunity to collaborate in research initiatives, some of which have already begun. This will set the stage for UHAS to eventually have adequate numbers of PhD-prepared faculty to establish their own doctoral program.

Photo: Jacqueline Choiniere
Photo: Christine Kurtz Landy

While the partnership will build capacity in Ghana, “It’s important to stress that it’s of mutual benefit,” says Choiniere. “Both UHAS and York are committed to fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as access to inclusive and equitable quality education.” In addition, students experience a richer exploration of key concepts, given their different contexts and social locations.

Equipping nurses with the very best education is critical to improve health and well-being globally says Choiniere. “All nurses are intimately involved with the entire continuum of health and care. This partnership lays the foundation for collaboration and knowledge exchange that will promote sustainable solutions and quality care in the global health arena.”