Series: Let our Powers Combine! Post 3: More and Better—Together

By combining our powers, we have accomplished more than we ever imagined possible when we first set out together. In Posts 1 and 2 of this series we outline the shared goal and work we accomplished together by combining, capitalizing, and celebrating our ‘superpowers’. And here we are—we worked successfully and joyfully with each other AND we got lots done! In this post, we provide a summary of the project and have organized our information using the SBAR format to relay what we have built together—so far.

By Getahun Lombamo, Sheryl Mills, and Amy Wiebe


A scant six months ago, Amy met Getahun and Sheryl for the very first time. “Let’s build an interprofessional education SITE that focuses on harm reduction!” “That sounds like a plan. Let’s do that!”

Since we started this adventure, our team has built a 6-hour IPE SITE, initiated two Health Science Students’ Association (HSSA)-hosted seminars, organized a PFN, and we are exploring an Escape Room. We have also written (now) three blog posts! We have done more—and done better—together! In this post we use the SBAR[1] format to organize and share why have we done what we have done and why this now.


The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health allocated funding toward the development of an undergraduate interprofessional educational program, in recognition of the tremendous need for enhanced understanding of harm reduction within the health professions. A representative from the University of Saskatchewan’s Continuing Professional Development of Pharmacy Professionals (Amy) has collaborated with the USask Health Sciences Interprofessional Education team (Getahun and Sheryl) to develop Harm Reduction educational events for learners. It took many people—and a vision—to bring these people (Amy, Getahun and Sheryl) together.


In the past decade in North America, both substance use and the associated deaths have dramatically escalated. The use of both opioids (e.g. fentanyl) and psychostimulants (e.g. crystal meth)—along with the associated harms—has been referred to as the “Twin Epidemic.” This substance use has impacted deaths related to toxicity and has contributed to other harms. The data reflecting this concern in Saskatchewan is shown in the regularly updated Coroner’s Report.

As an example of an associated harm, this increase in the use of substances by injection has impacted HIV diagnosis rates in Saskatchewan. In 2018, this rate was two to three times the national average, with 67% of those having noted injection drug use as the primary contributing risk factor. Given the prevalence of substance use and the associated potential harms for individuals living in our communities, ALL health care providers have a duty—and an opportunity—to act as health advocates for harm reduction in their practice areas.


Our hypothesis—and our vision—is that health sciences learners will benefit from harm reduction education to promote growth in the following areas:

  • Attitudes: Reduce stigma and stereotyping of people who use substances and strengthen the learner’s ability to bring curiosity to interactions with others.
  • Skills:  Develop teamwork and communication skills with individuals accessing care and other care providers.
  • Knowledge: For participants to understand and apply “harm reduction” as a philosophy as well as exploring the role for policies/programs/practices (with the provision of examples).

The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of care offered to individuals accessing health care services. 


For all post-secondary health sciences learners in Saskatchewan to be invited to participate in the University of Saskatchewan’s Harm Reduction Interprofessional Education opportunities. For more information on these activities, please contact

Please be in touch with your ideas and thoughts about teamwork. We would love to hear about how you and your teams combine your powers to do more, better, together. And in the meantime, stay tuned for the further adventures of Amy, Getahun, and Sheryl as we continue to combine our powers to do more, better—together!

[1] SBAR is the acronym for Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation. It is a standardized format used to ensure clear, concise, and consistent communication between members of a health care team.

Explore the Winter 2022 list of Health Sciences harm reduction activities