Rosewinter Kodzwa

Rosewinter Kodzwa, the co-chair of the Allied Health technical committee

Involved in many technical committees with HSO, Rosewinter Kodzwa is the co-chair of the Allied Health Educational Program technical committee. Kodzwa is a continuing education program reviewer with the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) and has been involved in health education for most of her career.

“I grew up in Zimbabwe and watched my mother, who was a nurse. I would visit her and see how she cared for people. It wasn’t surprising then that I took an interest in health care!”

As a certified MRI technologist, Kodzwa trained in a hospital-based radiography education program at the University of Iowa in the United States (US).

“I continued as a staff technologist for 12 years before I left clinical work in 2015,” Kodzwa notes.

In 2010, Rosewinter Kodzwa began working for a professional association of physician radiology, the American College of Radiology (ACR). For five years, from 2010 to 2015, she worked as a hospital surveyor on a team with radiologists and medical physicists on behalf of the federal US government. She also staffed the Drugs and Contrast Committee and reviewed continuing medical education for physicians.

“Currently, I work in the Academic department with a focus on continuing education services and compliance,” she notes.

She is also writing professional peer-reviewed articles, which she finds stimulating and enjoys very much.

“When I put together my professional experiences, I am lucky enough to have seen all aspects. I understand being a prospective student, a training student, and becoming a professional. I have also trained students from all types of settings, so I see what they see. I have a longstanding habit that when I go overseas on vacation, I often visit hospitals to observe and discuss, with allied health professionals and students, how healthcare training and practice compares globally.”

“When I used to be the Practice Standards manager at ASRT and ACR, I had firsthand experience of concerns from students and medical professionals, so it is good experience to co-chair this Allied Health Educational Program technical committee,” she adds.

The ASRT supports students in many respects, namely, they advise and refer them on ethics and lawful guidelines as aspiring health care professionals.

Rosewinter Kodzwa joined the Allied Health Educational Program technical committee in 2018 with much enthusiasm.

“When I first applied for this role, plenty of committees were open. I deliberately chose this one. I personally believe, that in ANY field it is good to begin with a solid educational foundation. The best way to contribute to quality health care, is to be involved and invest at the beginning of it all. Start with the students.”

She notes that this committee had to work with a special context in mind.

“This is different from other standards, in that it is not the professional setting yet. This standard is designed for students in their educational programs. The goal is to make sure our future professionals are starting out with a great foundation in ALL settings, whether rural, hospital based, or small clinics. We strive to have all students gain the same awareness independent of their specialties through well written standards.”

She believes that regardless of their background, “they can have this quality education through standards.”

Kodzwa feels that quality health care achieved through comprehensive education is her career defining contribution.

“Also like my mother, who was a ‘teacher turned nurse,’ I’m pouring from my passion to teach, and this committee was a very good opportunity for me to do that.”

The passion and dedication of a variety of experts can sometimes result in processes taking longer than expected.

“It’s truly a credit to HSO that they’ve allowed our Allied Health Educational Program technical committee to take our time. We were able to be transparent, to carefully consider all aspects of this standard. We wanted to do this standard justice.”

Kodzwa explains that they started from a Canadian Medical Association (CMA) document issued in 2014, but wanted to do more than just update its content; they wanted to re-assess how to best support health care education in today’s context.

“We were not only looking to modify a few things; we were asking ourselves ‘how was this going to work?’ As users, experts and professional association representatives, we were able to take the old CMA document and revise it into a practical and doable standard, that aimed at improving quality and safety. And our public comments so far are reflecting that it works!”

Highlighted themes of the new standard are people-centred care (PCC) and innovation.

“As a committee, we really believed in the importance of PCC and have integrated it into all services we considered. We invited a consultant to come enlighten us about patient educators, and this will come through in how this standard was formed. We agreed that patient partnership aligned with all future initiatives in health care. Patients and families have a voice, they just need to be heard,” explains Kodzwa.

Regarding the inclusion of ‘innovation’, she notes: “It was a new theme added to the standard, but we felt it was crucial, as the word itself suggests that change management is an imperative.”

When asked why standards were important, Kodzwa affirmed:

“A standard is a benchmark, a starting point. It determines if where you are as an organization is good enough, and if there’s a way to do better. When applied, it confirms that the system, organization, or program works. On the flip side, it’s a way to reduce variations from different players in health care.”

In the case of education, standards ensure programs are comprehensive of best practices, and much like protections are in place for patients, they also allow the student to be heard and protected.

“Standards are the only thing I can think of that brings those components together to benefit both the student and the patient.”

With the rising importance of patient partnership, Rosewinter Kodzwa shares that it is the future of health care.

“I keep abreast with World Health Organization and Healthy People initiatives, which are global, and one thing I know is that they are promoting people-centred care. I’m very glad HSO has adopted this approach. From the previous version, our (Allied Health Educational Program) standard has four clearly defined people-centered related terms: patient, patient engagement, patient partner and people-centred care (PCC). Throughout, we incorporate these terms and we believe this is the future of health care.”

The committee co-chair is optimistic about the future of PCC.

“We have not historically included the patient, but we are opening these lines of communication now.”

Kodzwa adds that HSO has been a leader in this area.

“What is unique about our HSO technical committee, is how we’ve included the patient’s voice in our discussion. When I hear their views, as we professionals and regulators make recommendations, it is so eye-opening to see how it’s received. It’s been a learning curve for me; though I’ve been involved in standards setting before, patients are now involved, and I recognize how crucial it is.”

She notes that the patient expert’s input makes a difference.

“We’ve changed some of our deliberations based on what we’ve heard from the patient voices in this committee.”

All around, the co-chair felt the Allied Health Educational Program technical committee was a “well-crafted team of experts”.

“I’m impressed with every member in the group. No one was afraid of bringing up their concerns. HSO responded to those concerns with transparency and patience. This work matters and this standard encompasses several professions. It’s like all 13 Allied Health Educational Programs were meeting through our committee.”

She adds, “we’re grateful for the time and understanding we received because we’re answerable and accountable as a committee for what we put out… we wanted to be happy with the result.”

Is being a technical committee member for everyone? Probably not. Here’s what the co-chair had to say about the responsibility and privilege of being on a committee.

“There are ethics involved in standards committees. You have to be honest with yourself about why you want to get involved. It’s not about your own agenda and ideas. I’ve been gifted a propensity and understanding of ethics, which meant getting on this committee was a chance to focus on what I enjoy doing – making a noticeable difference in quality patient care.”

Kodzwa notes how rewarding committee work can be.

“The benefit is that we are making a difference at a really high level with an organization like HSO; these are affecting the Canadian population!”

Of course, there are professional benefits as well.

“Having the honour to be on a committee also means building your resume. My own career has benefited with my voice and thoughts on global health care quality and compliance are being trusted and well received,” she notes.

Do you want to make a difference and help shape the future of health and social services in Canada and around the world?

Allied Health Educational Program Standard for Public Review: June 10-August 9

The draft of the Allied Health Educational Program standard is OUT – please take 15 minutes and review. Sustainable, quality health care begins with students getting a strong foundation. Your feedback is key to help us improve the final standard.