The University of Georgia’s College of Pharmacy received an Honorable Mention in Public Health Infrastructure from the Interprofessional Education Collaborative and the Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health in Washington, D.C. during the summer. At the ceremony, awards were presented to one overall winner and five honorable mention recipients, all of which were recognized for innovative and transformative solutions to improving the health of communities by demonstrating a clear connection between interprofessional practice, outcomes, and impact.
The title of the award-winning UGA entry was “Modeling Collaborative Interprofessional Care through a Mass Outbreak.” The College of Pharmacy worked with the Augusta University/UGA Medical Partnership, the UGA College of Public Health, and Augusta University School of Nursing on the simulated event. Leaders representing each of the participating entities included Dr. Tim Brown, the college’s director of Interprofessional Education and professor at Augusta University/UGA Medical Partnership; Beth McLear, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner at Augusta University College of Nursing; Dr. José F. Cordero, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the College of Public Health; and Kay Brooks, academic professional in Experience Programs at the College of Pharmacy.
This program was initiated in 2017 by Brooks, Dr. Cathy White, Associate Professor in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Trina von Waldner, retired Director of Continuing Professional Development and Outreach through a collaborative planning process with faculty from pharmacy, nursing and epidemiology. It has evolved since its inception to respond to the growing needs of each profession so that learning outcomes can be achieved. More than 200 students from the participating campuses engage in the simulations each year, which allows them to gain experience in providing team-based care to a diverse patient population and gain a greater appreciation for the various roles of each profession during a public health crisis.
“Ultimately, students not only gain an understanding for managing a mass outbreak in their community, they learn teamwork, patient management skills, problem solving, and how the healthcare team members must interact to find the source of the outbreak while providing care to the patients being served,” remarked Brown. “To date, more than 1,250 students have been introduced to the tenets of interprofessional team work in public health emergencies and how patient care is best managed for successful outcomes.”
In addition to being named one of the country’s top six IPE programs of the year, the CoP’s interprofessional simulated experience has been showcased in three national poster presentations and at a national podium presentation.