Exploring barriers and facilitators to the implementation of Exercise is Medicine® Canada on campus groups


The Exercise is Medicine® Canada on Campus (EIMC-OC) program was established in 2013 to foster relationships between health care professional trainees, while providing opportunities for students to implement PA promotion initiatives. Currently, 34 EIMC-OC groups are in operation, and each has encountered challenges and successes that have yet to be formally documented. The purpose of the current project was to identify barriers and facilitators when implementing an EIMC group on a university or college campus. Representatives from interested EIMC-OC groups were asked to complete a preliminary survey and participate in a semi-structured interview based on the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research in order to unpack groups' barriers and facilitators at multiple levels of implementation. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to thematic analysis. Twelve EIMC-OC groups from six provinces participated. Common barriers included lack of finances, time constraints of group members due to other commitments, recruitment of students from a variety of disciplines, and encouraging health care professionals to follow through with exercise prescriptions. Common facilitators included the enthusiasm and commitment of group members, consistent support from one or more faculty members, regular face-to-face group meetings with tangible action items, using a project-based structure where tasks are delegated to appointed leaders, communication with other EIMC-OC groups, and collaboration with other campus or community groups. Although each EIMC-OC group is shaped by its local context, groups face similar barriers and facilitators. The sharing of best practices between groups can provide direction for, and enhance the success of, the EIMC-OC program.