Posted by vanessa on March 9, 2018

On Thursday, April 5th, in lieu of regularly scheduled classes for physical therapy, dental, medical, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, pastoral care, public health and social work students, the campus will join together for a daylong interprofessional curriculum.  

Students and faculty will be able to attend plenary addresses and small group workshops throughout the day on topics that are better taught in teams rather than siloed within the individual professions. They include disparities in women’s health, gender and race outcomes, mental health stigma and pychoeducation, responding to the opiod epidemic, palliative care and end of life, simulation lab case studies, health care justice and childhood obesity, just to name a few. Over 120 members of the CUMC community have volunteered to lead workshops or give talks for this event. Over 1500 health professional students are expected to attend.

Although this campus-wide day of interprofessional action is the first event of its kind at CUMC, it is among several interprofessional education opportunities in which physical therapy students have been able to participate this year. In November of 2017, physical therapy, occupational therapy and nurse practitioner students joined together for an interactive simulation laboratory experience with standardized patient actors.  Four interprofessional teams examined actors in different rooms. Student practitioners representing their individual professions went in first, and watched their student colleagues on video in a separate room. The teams then collaborated on a plan for what to cover in a follow-up visit. The students got hands-on practice of clinical skills and valuable feedback from the actors. Additionally, they learned a lot about the roles and responsibilities of the other members of the health care team. The response to this elective experience was overwhelmingly positive.

In December of 2017, over 400 students from medicine, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy came together to work through a case study in small interprofessional groups. A complex case of an older adult treated by the E-LINC (Elder LGBT Interprofessional Collaborative Care) team was presented and unfolded in stages. This opportunity to participate in discussions about a complex clinical case with students from other professions was coordinated by medical students Ben Wagner, P&S ‘20 and Shaq Junaid, P&S ’21. The faculty panel presenting the interprofessional geriatric case included Jeffrey Kwong, DNP, MPH, ANP-BC, FAANP, Laurel Daniels Abbruzzese, PT, EdD, CEEAA, FNAP, Phyllis Simon, MS, OTR, and Joe Tennenbaum, MD. Again, students reported that the highlight of the event was a greater appreciation for the roles and responsibilities of other members of the healthcare team.

In February, selected students began the Columbia Commons IPE Seminars, in which students from all nine professional health schools come together weekly to learn how to support effective health care teams here at the medical center. Eight PT students are participating.*  Previously called the Columbia/Macy Seminar, this program is in its seventh year. It originated with a grant from the Macy Foundation and is now supported by the Columbia Commons IPE: Collaboration Across Professions team. These seminars are eleven-week long classes, each focusing on a single topic with an emphasis on orienting students to the philosophy and methods of narrative medicine. Working in small groups, the students develop narrative skills such as close reading, attentive listening, and creative writing. In doing so, students are able to develop trust in and respect for one another.

The goals of interprofessional education are to improve healthcare outcomes by improving communication skills, teamwork, and understanding of interprofessional roles, values and ethics. The Columbia Commons IPE: Collaboration Across Professions team and a newly formed Columbia Commons IPE Student Advisory Board are working to expand opportunities for IPE at CUMC. The Advisory Board includes two DPT students: Jonathan Grace (CUDPT ’20) and Shannon Joyner-Wilson (CUDPT ’18). The hope is to expand on these early initiatives and create more IPE opportunities at Columbia.  For more information about the IPE seminars, click here.

For more information about interprofessional education at Columbia, click here.

*PT students participating in the IPE Seminars: Kayla Coutts, CUDPT 2019; Anna Easterling, CUDPT 2020; Johnathan Grace, CUDPT 2020, Frances Jih, CUDPT 2019; Shannon Joyner-Wilson, CUDPT 2018; Nicholas Kwan, CUDPT 2019; Rafael Rodríguez-Torres, CUDPT 2019. 

Top Left: Dr. Laurel Daniels Abbruzzese, PT faculty member. Top right, Phyllis Simon, Occupational Therapy faculty member. Bottom Left: PT and OT students and faculty (far right: Dr. Laurel Daniels Abbruzzese)

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