The event included interactive sessions, lectures and a team-based experience.
The PCOM chapters of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) recently hosted the Primary Care Interprofessional Leadership Institute (PCILI), sponsored by their respective national headquarters, to explore how students from different healthcare disciplines can collaborate to improve the quality of primary care settings.
Medical, pre-medical, dental, physical therapy, biomedical science and health policy students from schools around the region came together for interactive sessions, lectures from an array of health professionals, and an interactive, team-based experience designed to show participants how collaboration across disciplines creates a more efficient and effective experience for the patient.
Charmaine Chan, DO ’08, instructor, family medicine; and Scott Glassman, PsyD ’13, clinical assistant professor, psychology, and associate director of the MS program in Mental Health Counseling, opened the event with a discussion on the role that interprofessional teams can play in solving the current problems of the health care industry and improve patient care. “The healthcare industry is increasingly emphasizing the quality of patient outcomes and improved self-management of chronic illnesses,” said Dr. Glassman. “That makes interprofessional care critical from both a patient-centered and cost efficiency perspective.”
Alaynna Kears, (DO ’18), president of the PCOM chapter of AMSA, says that interprofessionalism in primary care is incredibly important in areas such as Philadelphia, where a high number of individuals have chronic health conditions like diabetes, and need to see more than one health provider. (According to the Southeastern PA Household Health Survey from the Public Health Management Corporation, about 15 percent of the Philadelphia population has diabetes, compared to the national average of 12.3 percent.)
Kears shared the example of a diabetic patient who sees a primary care physician to manage the disease, but must also then see an ophthalmologist, a nephrologist and a podiatrist to prevent the disease from affecting other parts of their bodies. In addition, that same patient must also see a nurse for immunizations, and a social worker to assist them in getting ancillary help—such as transportation and health care coverage—with managing the disease.
“Managing these patient's conditions requires a joint effort to provide the best healthcare experience,” she said.
In the spirit of interprofessional collaboration, Kears noted that clinical psychology student Mark Cassano, MS/Psy ’12 (PsyD ’17), was instrumental in organizing PCILI. Mr. Cassano has organized a similar event at PCOM called the Integrated Health Care Conference (IHC) for the past two years, and “his prior experience helped us make this event successful, since the IHC and PCILI both had similar goals in mind,” she said.
Steven Mosey (DO ’18), president of the PCOM chapter of SOMA, said the Institute shows how communication and respect among health care providers can lead to more favorable outcomes. “Hopefully, it will create a lasting impression so that in the future, more effective collaboration is sought out,” he said.
Dr. Glassman, who also spoke about the interprofessional nature of the College’s shared medical appointment program, said that PCOM was an ideal site to host the event. “PCOM’s commitment to interprofessional education increases the likelihood that students from across healthcare disciplines will be prepared to work within team environments after graduation, because they will understand that wellness, illness management and health behavior change are biopsychosocial concepts. “
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 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 offers doctorate degrees in educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and psychology, and graduate degrees in aging and long-term care administration, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies and school psychology. Our 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 in inner-city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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