DO, PsyD Students Collaborate in New Health ProgramJuly 16, 2018
PCOM students conduct weekly phone calls with healthcare center patients to support
wellness goals and manage treatments.
A new program at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) aims to help the patient population of its community-based Healthcare Centers meet their healthy lifestyle goals through weekly phone calls with Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) students.
The Health Support Program, funded by a $50,000 grant from the Independence Blue Cross
Foundation, involves students reaching out to patients with high need who may need
additional support to establish/reach agreed upon health goals; cope with chronic
diseases such as diabetes; adhere to healthy lifestyle behaviors; engage in treatment,
whether medical or behavioral; problem-solve around any obstacles to meeting goals;
and attend upcoming primary care visits.
“Our students reach out to a list of patients to first gauge interest in receiving
these types of calls, and if there is interest, they’ll receive roughly one call per
week for 3 to 5 weeks, lasting about 15-20 minutes,” said Scott Glassman, PsyD ’13, clinical assistant professor, psychology, and creator of the Health Support Program.
“Through these calls, the students help each participant establish a healthy lifestyle
goal, and then provide motivational support and problem-solving techniques to move
the patient toward meeting his or her goal.”
Dr. Glassman says this style of conversation, called motivational interviewing, allows
the patient to take on a more active role in his or her care and lifestyle maintenance,
which can lead to better health outcomes overall.
“Motivational interviewing is not about health professionals telling patients what
to do, but about helping the patient discover their own thoughts and reasons for why
they want to make that healthy change,” he explains.
The program, which launched in March, has conducted nearly 40 calls to about 11 patients
thus far. Meaghan Roszyk (DO ’21), who previously assisted Dr. Glassman on the program
A Happier You, was interested in additional ways to integrate primary care and psychology, and
volunteered for the Health Support Program.
“We work as a team to call each patient, and help them set goals and come up with
ways they can implement small changes to meet those goals,” she said. Students are
given a semi-structured script that guides them in helping the patient as he or she
works toward meeting their most important health goals.
Janessa Brown (MS/MHC ’19), a fellow member of Ms. Roszyk’s outreach team, said her
experience with the Health Support Program fully encapsulated her decision to come
to PCOM. “The integration and continuity of care between psychology and medicine appealed
to me,” she said.
“I think it’s helpful to the patient to know that he or she has a team of people around
them who really care about their progress,” said Ms. Brown. “This should be the model
that everyone in healthcare is embracing. Health outcomes are better when we all work
together and embrace the osteopathic paradigm of treating the whole person.”
When a patient reaches the end of their calls, they are referred to additional services
at PCOM if need be, such as the Center for Brief Therapy. Dr. Glassman says that as the program continues, participants will receive a survey
to gauge the importance of meeting health goals and changes in confidence in meeting
those goals, and biometrics such as weight, blood pressure and a1c levels will be
The students say their callees are already expressing gratitude for the support. “One
woman who was nearing the end of her sessions told us that she couldn’t talk to her
own family about these types of things, and that we gave her the support she needed,”
said Ms. Roszyk. “She didn’t want the calls to end.”
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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