This past year has taught us important lessons about the positive impact of teamwork during challenging times. The Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education (CECE) at the University of New England has made it a priority to learn how interprofessional education (IPE) contributes to proficiency in collaborative teamwork and opens up career options and leadership opportunities for health professions graduates.
Faculty, professional staff, and UNE students represented these priorities well at the virtual 2021 Nexus Summit, an annual conference sponsored by the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.
Elizabeth Crampsey, Ed.D., M.S., OTR/L, BCPR, associate clinical professor of occupational therapy, led the team, presenting a lightening talk on “A 5-year Analysis of Interprofessional Education Impact on Workplace Practice and Lessons Learned,” which looked at how UNE alumni are implementing IPE competencies in their unique health care settings.
Leslie Ochs, Pharm.D., Ph.D., M.S.P.H., chair and associate professor of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration within the School of Pharmacy; colleagues; and students offered insights into the unexpected shift from in-person to virtual IPE. A cross-institutional research team from UNE and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, led by Tamzin Batteson, B.Sc., research specialist at the Baldwin Institute at Rosalind Franklin, assessed skills and attitudes for cross-disciplinary communication.
UNE medical students’ collaborative clerkships were highlighted in a presentation by Jenifer Van Deusen, M.Ed., clinical faculty and interprofessional education coordinator in the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM). The presentation described details of COM’s initiative to ensure that all osteopathic medical students are exposed to shared teamwork practices in their clinical rotations.
Hwyda Arafat, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc., M.Ed.L., professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine; Shelley Cohen Konrad, Ph.D., LCSW, FNAP, professor in the School of Social Work and CECE director; and G. Christopher Hunt, Ed.D., former associate provost for Community, Equity, and Diversity at UNE, gave a talk entitled, “Exploring Power and Unspoken Biases in Interprofessional Collaborative Education and Practice,” which examined power dynamics in the field.
Cohen Konrad also partnered with Barbara Maxwell, PT, Ph.D., D.P.T., M.Sc., THE, FNAP, professor and university director of IPE and collaboration at A.T. Still University, to pose the question, “Should we be considering patients in the care team or the patient’s care team?”
The interprofessional student team of Michaela Myerson (Pharm.D., ’22), Elisabelle Bocal (M.S.W. ’24), William Rinaldi (D.O. ’24), Sean Callagy (D.O., ’24), and Katie Santanello (D.O. ’24) presented two posters at the summit: “Hindsight is 2020: Plan, Perform, Evaluate (P.P.E.) – An Interprofessional Review and Pandemic Playbook” and “Interprofessional Approach to Learning: A Mixed-Method Study of Student Involvement in Interprofessional Work and Perceived Impact on Effectiveness as a Healthcare Professional.”
Cohen Konrad also hosted a plenary session, “What Matters Most – Practical Models for Designing and Delivering Interprofessional Practice and Education Programs with Individuals, Families, and Communities.” Nyamuon Nguany Machar, a spoken word poet, and Arabella Pérez, LCSW, assistant clinical professor in UNE’s School of Social Work, were guest panelists along with Nethra Ankam, M.D., associate professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University; Jon Moore, Jefferson health mentor at TJU; and Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers’ Maritza Gomez and Cisily Brown.
“Dr. Cohen Konrad led an extraordinary plenary that focused on patient, family, and community engagement in their own health, showcasing the exemplary UNE IPE programs,” remarked Barbara Brandt, director of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. “UNE faculty, professional staff, and students made significant contributions to the quality of this year’s Nexus Summit, demonstrating their cutting-edge leadership in the field of interprofessional practice and education.”
The plenary was followed by a “Conversation Café” on the topic co-facilitated by Kelley Harmon, D.O., chair of the Medical Education and Library Committee at MaineGeneral Health, and Susan Dudley Gold, writer and editor, patient advocate and educator, and executive director of Vet2Vet Maine.