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Henrietta Schmoll School of Health hosts clinical education summit

Barabara Brandt, Ph.D., of the Academic Health Center, and Heather Davidson, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, sit on a panel during the summit Nov. 2, 2011.
Barabara Brandt, Ph.D., of the Academic Health Center, and Heather Davidson, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, sit on a panel during the summit Nov. 2, 2011.
Photo by Hilary Stein '14.

More than 175 leaders in health care and health care education convened on the St. Paul campus on Nov. 2, 2011, launching the first Clinical Education Health Care Summit at the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health at St. Catherine University.

Those present set out to examine the changing landscape for health care, provide examples of successful interprofessional learning, discuss the impact of that learning on the workforce and identify strategies to align higher education and health care practice.

What resulted from the Summit, which was held in the Rauenhorst Ballroom, was a wealth of insights into health care as it is today and as it will be in the future. Presenters and panelists responded to concerns about the changing climate of health care in response to comprehensive state and federal health care reform, and then laid the groundwork for successful interprofessional relationships — even in the midst of widespread change.

A movement in interprofessional education

“What’s happening now — the movement that you’re all a part of and really we’re at the forefront of here in Minnesota — is a culture shift,” said Lauren Gilchrist, MPH, the assistant commissioner of Health Policy and Reform for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Gilchrist encouraged collaboration between institutions of higher education and health care centers, suggesting that strong relationships between colleges and hospitals and clinics could be mutually beneficial. Her core concerns related to the cost of health care, the changing landscape of health care in the U.S., and the shortage of qualified professionals in the health care workforce.

“When we look at those shortages, we realize how important interprofessional education is in maximizing the resources that we have,” said Gilchrist. “The goal that we have is really collaboration, and the discussions that we will have here today will be part of that.”

Barabara Brandt, Ph.D., associate vice-president for education at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center, commanded the attention of the crowd when she explained the need for interprofessional education as it relates to academia.

The field for interprofessional education has exploded in the last three years, Brandt said. She said “The Future of Nursing” report released in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine — a report that identifies changing needs in health care education — has its underpinnings in interprofessional education. But she cautioned that any collaboration between health care organizations and educational institutions needs leaders at the helm in order to succeed. 

“It takes leaders in all parts of the organization and in all organizations,” she said.

Brandt also encouraged professionals to think about the foundation that students need in order to be successful in partnerships with health care organizations, whether it relates to teamwork, patient care or professionalism. She added that the hidden curriculum is just as important as the lessons students learn in their courses.

A working model

Heather Davidson, Ph.D., director of program development for the Vanderbilt Program on Interprofessional Learning (VPIL) at the School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, presented the model for VPIL at the summit, sharing the complex work of a large collaboration of professionals.

To implement VPIL, educators from five schools designed an innovative pilot program for incoming students. The program called for students to contribute to the care of patients, while working on interprofessional clinical teams, from the very start of their curriculum.

“These novice students are coming into their selected profession with an undifferentiated skill base,” said Davidson. She said the goal of the program is to not only embed valuable skills in the curriculum but also to offer students support in a team environment. “We want to get away from just the shadowing experience.”

Davidson said it’s no surprise that the program has met resistance by health care organizations, as these organizations want to provide their patients with care from qualified professionals. However, she challenged health care organizations to think outside the box and imagine ways that a college intern could actually further the work of the organization while still in school.

“We want to get to the point where education can add value to the clinic experience,” said Davidson. “How do students add value to the clinic?”

While piloting VPIL — a program that is now in its second year — was no easy task, VPIL organizers saw opportunities for students to fill gaps in health care services at every stage of the game.

“This model had to radically and rapidly change to meet the challenges of complex health care changes,” said Davidson, though she said the rewards were great. “At this point, it is all hands on deck in terms of trying to improve our health care system.”

A call to action

Dean of the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health Penelope Moyers, Ed.D., also facilitated a panel of four representatives from four major health care organizations in the Twin Cities metro.

The panelists included:
• Laura D. Beeth, System Director, Talent Acquisition, Fairview Health Services
• Carol Lauer, MSN, RN, PHN, Director of Clinical Education, HealthEast Care System
• Beth Waterman, RN, MBA, Chief Improvement Officer, Health Partners
• Penny Wheeler, M.D., Chief Clinical Officer, Allina Health System

The panelists discussed ways in which graduates in health professions need to be better prepared in the future. They also answered questions regarding the opportunities that exist for mentorship in health care settings and the challenges both academic and health care partners face in making any collaboration a success.

Moyers said that though there have been significant gains in interprofessional learning in the last decade, academia will continue to rely on health care organizations to provide those opportunities to students. Her sentiments were echoed by the presenters at the summit.    

“The reality is that when we have group coordination, we have better healthcare outcomes. It’s not rocket science,” said Gilchrist.

After participants shared ideas for innovation over lunch, the summit concluded with a call to action by David Page, a St. Catherine University Trustee and the former CEO of Fairview Health System.

About the summit

The Clinical Education Health Care Summit was sponsored by the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health at St. Catherine University, which brings more than 30 health care programs together under one umbrella. One of the founding concepts of the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health, which was launched in 2007, is interprofessional education.

The summit was also sponsored in part by the St. Kate's College for Applied and Continuing Learning, in partnership with Fairview Health Services, HealthEast Care System, Allina Hospitals & Clinics, HealthPartners and the University of Minnesota. Continuing education credits were provided by the University of Minnesota.

Below, about 175 professionals attended the Clinical Education Health Care Summit at St. Catherine University. Photo by Hilary Stein '14.

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Nov. 8, 2011 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Faculty, Healthcare, Leadership