Toronto (Oct. 6, 2021) – The Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities has granted consent to The Michener Institute of Education at UHN to offer a Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion (CVP). This makes Michener the only school in Canada to offer a Master's degree in this complex and important health profession.

Cardiovascular perfusionists are critical members of cardiac surgical teams. They operate heart-lung machines during cardiac and transplant surgeries, but there is an increased need for perfusionists beyond cardiopulmonary surgery. Perfusionists are also specialists in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and their work stood out during the heights of each successive wave of COVID-19 as the sickest patients required life-saving procedures.

There is also a nationwide shortage of cardiovascular perfusionists, so recognizing their importance in the interprofessional healthcare team is expected to increase the number of people seeking to enter and stay in this field.

“The COVID pandemic illustrated how important the applied health professions – such as cardiovascular perfusionists – are to urgent care, and also how they are in short and shrinking supply," says Dr. Harvey Weingarten, Principal of The Michener Institute of Education at UHN. “The Master's program recognizes the increasing complexity of the perfusionists job and underscores the level of education and training required."

"A Master's Degree Program is an investment in the future of the cardiovascular perfusion profession. Having research embedded in our programming equates to better clinical practices through ongoing development of evidence that will constantly improve patient care, and perfusion leadership presence interprofessionally and institutionally," says Maggie Savelberg, President of the Canadian Society of Clinical Perfusion and a Michener graduate.

The Michener Institute has offered its in-demand, advanced diploma in cardiovascular perfusion for more than 40 years. Canada's only school within a research hospital network, Michener is uniquely positioned to improve patient care through research in cardiovascular perfusion by learning from today's critical care events to inform future technologies and advances in critical care.

Michener's program is one of only three CVP programs in Canada, and the only one in Ontario. The admissions requirements for Michener's CVP program were already on a par with other Master's level programs in North America and Europe, and in most places the terminal degree for perfusionists is a Master's degree. Michener can now grant the degree that is consistent internationally and more importantly, most appropriate for the increasing complexity of the work performed by perfusionists.

The consent from the Ministry is for a period of five years beginning July 2021. The first cohort of Masters-credentialed students will begin in September 2022. Michener will also offer a Master's degree completion program for graduates of the advanced diploma program in the past five years.

About The Michener Institute of Education at UHN

For more than 60 years, The Michener Institute of Education at UHN has educated generations of healthcare professionals, providing a broad range of full-time, part-time and continuing education programs designed to meet emerging and evolving applied health sciences needs within Ontario's healthcare system. As part of the University Health Network, Michener embeds a school within a hospital, enabling direct access to real-time, front-line insight to inform and shape curricula. By integrating with the country's largest teaching hospital network, Michener was able to plug a critical health system gap, assuming a vital role in planning and preparing for the healthcare needs of the future.

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