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Pioneer Valley Interprofessional Practice and Education Collaborative (PV IPEC) Blog

March 2024

Beyond our borders: an interprofessional team expedition in global health

On January 5, 2024, students, faculty, and interested healthcare professionals gathered at JFK airport in New York City to embark on a 5,000 mile interprofessional journey across the Atlantic Ocean to Ghana, West Africa. Our group was well represented across professions with a mix of practicing and student physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, nurses, community health workers, occupational therapists, and masters of public health degree seekers. After nearly a year of planning and zooming, we were together to meet our Ghanian partners in Aburi.

June 2023

Beyond Medicine: A Deeper Dive into Health Disparities and Social Determinants of Health

Throughout last October and November, I had the invaluable opportunity to participate in the 2022 UMass Chan Population and Community Health Clerkship which has been a transformative experience that has deepened my understanding of the impact of social determinants of health on underserved communities.

During my clerkship, I connected with residents of Franklin County, discussing the barriers to accessing healthcare. It quickly became evident that social determinants of health play a significant role in shaping the health outcomes of the population.

January 2023

Improving Individual and Community Health, One Tree at a Time

In 2019, Springfield was the number 1 asthma capital in the United States. The impact of high asthma rates, particularly among children, prevents individuals from living a healthy and active lifestyle and contributes to missed school and work days. However, the increased rates of asthma are not distributed equally throughout different neighborhoods; Latinx and African American communities are bearing the brunt of poor asthma outcomes.

December 2022

Interprofessional students bridge across disciplines to learn how to care for people with dementia

As a medical student, I have limited opportunities to work with students and residents from other healthcare professions. Having an interdisciplinary clerkship team enhanced every person’s learning, as we all later reflected on. I admired the PA student’s careful approach and clear expertise with working one-on-one with residents from prior experience. The perspective of a pharmacy resident on medication regulations within the assisted living setting was valuable, as these facilities are not allowed to split, crush, or administer medications.

September 2022

Community based partnerships: “Win-wins” for health professions students and populations served

Springfield College Physical Therapy students and UMass Amherst Speech-Language Pathology graduate students are engaged in unique learning opportunities at ServiceNet’s Enrichment Center in Chicopee & Strive Clinic in Holyoke, day programs for individuals with brain injuries. The below article details how the longitudinal partnerships benefit both students and individual receiving care.

March 2022

Interprofessional Education and Collaboration on Stroke/Aphasia for a Rising Generation of Healthcare Workers

On Tuesday, November 2nd, PV-IPEC in coordination with the UMass Amherst Department of Communication Disorders held a memorable virtual interprofessional education (IPE) program on stroke/aphasia. Second year graduate students in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) at UMass Amherst offer the following insights after facilitating this IPE event with over 100 colleagues from other local universities.

Sharing a room with members of your cohort who have the same passion can be educational. Sharing a room with students from related professional programs, albeit a Zoom breakout room with tiny square boxes, is both educational and empowering. You can be the “expert” in the room and still leave with a notebook of knowledge you hadn’t considered before.

February 2022

The WoW Bus: A Community-Based Classroom for Interprofessional Students

From my experiences as a former community health worker advocating for better housing conditions to improve a child’s asthma exacerbation to supporting a victim of homelessness through his worsening depression, I recognized how intricately linked social determinants of health were to physical and mental health. I was excited to see how the Baystate Health Wellness on Wheels (WoW) bus expands this further by delivering care directly into the community in Springfield, MA. The Springfield population is a thriving and diverse melting pot, made up of a BIPOC majority population, and consequently, one that is especially disenfranchised.

October 2021

Audiologists on Interprofessional Teams: We Hear You and We Are Here for You!

In today’s blog we will share specific information about the profession of audiology and discuss the importance of including audiologists on interprofessional teams, where they can provide critical services in areas that are perhaps not well known or obvious to patients or other healthcare professionals. While hearing loss can affect all ages, today we will discuss hearing loss in older adults and the complex needs of this population that are best addressed by collaboration between audiology and other healthcare professionals.

September 2021

Health Professional Students Engaging in Critical Service-Learning: Beyond COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health professions schools took steps to balance concerns for student safety with the need to assist with response efforts. Students were allowed to graduate early to help in hospitals, assisted with developing early COVID-19 research databases, and helped healthcare systems acquire PPE from non-traditional sources.

August 2021

Finding Value & Success while Excelling on a Team

Something that I had not planned on for my final year of coursework in the physical therapy (PT) program at Springfield College was an Interprofessional Education, or IPE, course in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The opportunity to take this class came up somewhat randomly, and I decided, “why not?” This course has now been offered for the past three years in the Springfield area.

June 2021

Why Interprofessional Education (IPE) for Health Equity?

The COVID 19 pandemic has exposed inequities in our health system, with people from marginalized communities disproportionately bearing the impact of illness, disability, and death. Now is the time to innovate to address inequities and transform our system so that we all receive care that is high quality, better coordinated, and actively engaged in addressing social determinants of health, such as neighborhood safety, healthy food, and access to behavioral health care.


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