Health professionals host Interprofessional Education Day

The faculty and students that participated in the Interprofessional Education Day last semester have come together again Feb. 21 for a day to continue the ideas that were taught. The day promotes professional learning with people from different backgrounds, according to Associate Professor of Kinesiology, and one of the event’s hosts Kara Cecil.

“It’s the idea that we create stronger, more effective professionals postgraduation when we teach people to start working together and with professionals from different backgrounds,” Cecil said.

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Brenda Howard, who was a host of one of the events, said that the resources to teach the idea of interprofessional education was not available in normal classes due to the teaching styles. She said it does not represent what students are going to see in the workforce.

Students of various majors gather around informational boards during the health disparities event in the Health Pavilion. The stations and boards were created by students in various 300-level classes within the health field. Contributed Photo from Kara Cecil

“We have, for many years, had our education in silos. You know, here’s physical therapy, here’s occupational therapy, here’s nursing and we have our own educational standards,” Howard said. “We have to follow those in order to graduate our students. And because of that, we don’t spend a lot of time integrating what we’re learning with other professions.”

The day was composed of three different events. One in the morning with Cecil, which consisted of educating students on the effects of health disparities and how they affect the community. One topic discussed was the mortality rate of African-American infants being three times worse than that of white infants, according to Cecil.

Senior public health major Rylin Rusher was responsible for making the assessments that attendees took, which was a way for the event coordinators to gage the value of each of the different events. Rusher, along with many other students in various health and wellness  fields, were encouraged by their professors to help with the event in order to educate other students, according to Cecil.

“I really enjoy the public health field and getting awareness out to the individuals,” Rusher said. “So this event really caught my eye. Not only because I was going to class to make this, but also for what it is for health disparities.”

The second part of the event took place at 4:30 p.m. and was presented  by Howard. She and a group of other panelists from the medical field spoke about various strategies to solve  ethical problems interprofessionally.

The panel, which consisted of professionals from fields such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology and social work, were given scenarios in which an ethical problem occurred and the panelist talked through the scenarios on stage, which were opened for questions afterwards. According to Howard, the event allowed for a discussion that stirred different ideas about ethics.

“One of the things you find when you do these events is that there’s no lack of conversation when you bring up ethical issues,” Howard said. “People have lots of opinions on, morally, what they think should happen. But then seeing, ethically, what the problems are when what you think should happen runs up against what somebody else thinks should happen.”

Community Hospital South clinicians hosted the final event of the day and they focused on the roles and responsibilities that are needed to be taken when dealing with complex patients.

Last fall, a team from Community Hospital South visited UIndy and worked through a real-life situation. The goal of the event was to represent the roles of each of the team members in a real world application.

According to Cecil, there has been events like IPE Day happening around campus for the past couple of years, but the momentum has been growing. They are able to do many more informative events around campus.

According to Cecil, these events are not only for those in the medical fields, but are open to students in all majors. She said lessons on interprofessional education and learning can be beneficial to all students on campus.

“I would love to have people from many different disciplines in this event,” Cecil said. “When people come to a conversation or an activity like this with an open mind, they’re going to learn a lot about their fellow students, about people that they will work with later in life and their careers.”