Interprofessional Health Mentors Program





The UBC Interprofessional Health Mentors Program (HMP) is a unique educational experience in which groups of students from different disciplines learn together from and with mentors. Health mentors can be adult patients/clients with chronic conditions/disabilities or caregivers who provide long-term care to loved ones. Mentors are "experts" in their lives and help students learn how health care providers can give support.

Over 16 months, the student groups visit their mentors twice a semester, focusing on specific topics.

Who are the mentors?

Who are the students?

Mentors' chronic conditions/ disabilities might include:

  • Alzheimer's disease and other dementia types
  • Arthritis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV
  • Mental health
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stroke

Health mentors have a wide range of experience with the health care system and different health professionals.

Mentors are recruited through local community and patient organizations.

Participants from interdisciplinary UBC health and human services programs:

  • Audiology
  • Dentistry
  • Genetic Counselling
  • Kinesiology
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Speech-Language Pathology

 Each group is a mix of four different students from the above programs. Students are co-supervised by the HM Program director and faculty members from the students' UBC programs. 

Students do not provide treatment or give health advice. 




Program Goals 

1.      The HM Program helps students learn about chronic disease and the range of work involved in chronic disease self-management (CDSM). Carefully considering the perspectives of the patients, students will explore their roles - both as individual practitioners and as a part of interprofessional groups - learning how to support CDSM, as well as addressing psychosocial and biomedical needs. 
2.      The HM Program will help students develop interprofessional competencies in patient-centred care. There will be emphasis on understanding and valuing a patient's individual experience, including psychosocial aspects, and involving the patient as a partner in his/her health care - sharing both the power and responsibility.
3.      The HM Program will also permit students to meet discipline-specific objectives on topics such as the social determinants of health and communication skills.

Information for Potential Applicants

Prospective Students

Application deadline for students: September  21, 2018.

To register:


Potential Health Mentors

Application for Health Mentors

Application for Health Mentors (Caregivers) 

Application deadline for Health Mentors: August 13, 2018.


Mailing address:

Patient & Community Partnership for Education

Office of UBC Health

P. A. Woodward Instructional Resource Centre (IRC)
400 - 2194 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC
V6T 1Z3

Phone: 604-822-8002

Funding and Support

2016-18 UBC Health, Office of the Provost & VP Academic

2014-15 Cedar Lodge Endowment, UBC School of Occupational Therapy, Margaret McPhee, Bill Gibson

2011-2014 College of Health Disciplines and UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of Kerrisdale Community Centre, which has provided the Health Mentors Program with meeting and event space in kind. Click here to read about Kerrisdale Community Centre Society's community engagement activities.


Publications & Presentations

VIDEO (2017). "I Have Her in My Head" - The role of patient health menors in professional identity formation and shared decision making. Association for Medical Education in Europe. Helsinki, Finland, August 26-30, 2017.


Ruitenburg, C. & Towle, A. (2014). "How to do things with words" in health professions education. Advances in Health Sciences Education Theory and Practice. Published online: 25 November 2014.

Towle A, Brown H, Hofley C, Kerston R, Lyons H, & Walsh C. The expert patient as teacher: an interprofessional Health Mentors programme. The Clinical Teacher, 11, 301–306.

Two-Pager (2013). Interprofessional Health Mentors Program 2011-2014: Two Page Summary

VIDEO (2013). Student and Mentor Testimonials

VIDEO (2013. Faculty, Mentor and Student Experiences of the Health Mentors Program

Poster (2013). UBC Interprofessional Health Mentors Program Symposium : A Space for Knowledge Exchange

Poster (2012). Interprofessional Health Mentors Program CELEBRATE LEARNING

Towle, A. (2012). The Interprofessional Health Mentors Program Symposium: An approach to knowledge exchange. CHES Quarterly, vol 3(2): 1-4.

Kladko, B. (2012). A new window on patients' personal struggles. UBC Medicine, vol 8(1): 11.

Kladko, B. (2012). A new window on patients' personal struggles. UBC Reports, March 2012: 3.



Health Mentors Program Summary Report 2011-2016



For more information, please contact: Cathy Kline, research coordinator, at