University of Philippines Manila

CHDP as an exemplar of both Community and Practice

Community and practice are two vital components that determine and influence the health of populations. Combine them and you get an important and strategic approach to ensuring the health and wellbeing not just of individuals but of people and communities. The Community of Practice (COP) is the latest buzzword in health transformation and development.

COP is defined by Wenger-Trayner, in their Introduction to Communities of Practice: A brief overview of its concepts and uses, 2015 as groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

They stated further that COPs are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor.

Among the many programs of UP Manila, its Community Health and Development Program (CHDP) composed of various UP colleges actively assisting communities in the implementation of different community-based health programs, including the control and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), is considered a COP.

With core concepts of training, research, and service, the CHDP enters into a partnership with a community using the Primary Health Care approach as its underlying principle. It first entered into a partnership with, San Juan, Batangas when it started in 2007 and later partnered with the province of Cavite.

In February 2013, UP Manila signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Provincial Government of Cavite, starting a five-year partnership with AMIGA Inter-LGU Health Collaboration Council composed of five municipalities: Alfonso, Mendez, Indang, General Emilio, Aguinaldo and Amadeo.

Partner communities were engaged in a series of small group discussions and situational analyses with all the stakeholders at the municipal and barangay level. NCDs were recognized as a growing health concern as it is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the AMIGA municipalities.

The involvement of the community partners in the above activities were as interns, barangay health workers, barangay official, barangay nutrition scholars, community organizer, and consultant; and through the Rural Health Units, Barangay Health Team, Health Club, PhilPen, Dept of Health, and Department of Education.

Efforts to cultivate the COP were strengthened when the National Teacher Training Center for the Health Professions conducted a conference themed “Cultivating Communities of Practice Toward Systems-based Health Professions Education” in July 2023.

The conference highlighted the importance of creating and sustaining communities of practice or COPs of people sharing a common passion or interest that promote learning, innovation, and collaboration in health systems science and its incorporation into health professions education.

(Based on a report by Nemuel S. Fajutagana, MD, MHPEd Anthony Cordero, MD, and Geohari L. Hamoy, MD, MPH)

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