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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 32-38

Factors promoting sustainability of education innovations: A comparison of faculty perceptions and existing frameworks

1 Adjunct Lecturer, Departments of Global Health and Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2 Associate Director, Evaluation and Planning, Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), Philadelphia, United States
3 Associate Vice President, for Education at FAIMER and Co-Director, FAIMER Institute; Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, United States

Correspondence Address:
Lawrence C Loh
Department of Global Health and Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, 155 College St, Sixth Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 3M7
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Source of Support: This research project was supported in part by the Foundation for dvancement of International Medical Education and Research. However, the fi ndings and conclusions do not necessarily refl ect the opinions of this organization., Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.112798

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Introduction: Health professions education uses innovative projects to promote faculty development and institution change. Faculty perceptions of the factors that promote project sustainability affect how faculty conceptualize and implement their innovations, which influences whether and how they plan for sustainability. This paper compares educators' perceptions of factors that influence sustainability in innovative projects with factors identified in project sustainability literature, to identify areas of convergence and divergence. Methods: Using questionnaires, faculty development fellowship participants from Brazil and India shared their perceptions on factors influencing their project's sustainability. An analysis framework was developed from existing project sustainability literature; faculty responses were then coded through an iterative process. Results: Key sustainability themes identified by faculty included project-level factors related to project design, stakeholder support, monitoring and evaluation, and project outcomes. Identified context level factors were related to institutional and governmental support as well as self-motivation and peer support. Availability of resources and funding were identified as relevant at both the project and context levels. Project-level factors were more often cited than context-level factors as key to ensuring sustainability. Conclusions: Faculty development efforts in health professions education should employ strategies to target these themes in promoting innovation sustainability. These include preengagement with institutional leaders, alignment with public sector goals, strategic diffusion of information, project expansion and transferability, capacity building in monitoring and evaluation, and creation of a community of educators for information exchange and support.

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