Building the Healthcare Workforce to Serve the Underserved
The presentation will describe the strategic alignment of academic and community resources to develop an innovative model of interprofessional (IP) education and practice to care for underserved populations in primary care safety-net sites and increase students’ interest in pursuing a career in primary care. The model increased the number of student clinical training sites and rotations, integrated telehealth/teleprecepting, and provided student education on IP teamwork and caring for the underserved. IP teams of students and faculty from five clinically focused colleges at an academic health science center partnered with two safety-net delivery systems to provide primary care to an underserved population. Student rotations exceeded the program goals with the integration of 132 student rotations from seven healthcare professions in two safety-net systems. This included the integration of an IP pharmacy telehealth/teleprecepting diabetes clinic with 723 patient encounters and a decrease in the average A1C by 1.9%. IP students participated in community outreach, case management, and led six quality improvement initiatives. Of the students participating in the IP clinical rotations, 97% reported they would participate in this clinical rotation again. Students reported with positive certainty about pursuing a career in primary care and working with underserved populations.
The student learning experiences within the safety-net delivery systems provided an optimal IP clinical learning environment focused on caring for the underserved and increasing students’ interest in pursuing primary care safety-net practice after graduation. Strategic collaboration between the academic setting and the practice partners ensured an IP practice and education model that met the needs of all the stakeholders. This project incorporated key principles of effective IP clinical learning environments in safety-net delivery systems that increased students’ exposure to providing care for underserved populations while maintaining practice productivity and patient outcomes. The project was funded by The Duke Endowment (Grant #6622-SP).