CHSP doctoral student Beth Oommen listens as panelist Jennifer Chabot, associate professor of child and family studies, explains a child-life specialist’s role in helping families cope during a medical crisis.
Photographer: Heather Haynes
Left to right, CHSP Dean Randy Leite, HCOM Dean Jack Brose, and Grand Rounds panelists Janelle Brown, Jennifer Chabot, Steven Brose, Petra Williams, John McCarthy, and Andrew Krause pose for a portrait.
Photographer: Heather Haynes
Oct 24, 2011
Randy Leite, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions, welcomed a capacity crowd to the Walter Hall Rotunda on Thursday night in a first step toward "coming together for the good of patients and the population."
A strong opening, but one suitable for the occasion: The dawn of what he and others hope is a new era of collaboration within health-related programs at Ohio University.
The College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) and Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU- HCOM) partnered on “Grand Rounds: An Adolescent with a Spinal Cord Injury,” a program designed to expose students in the two colleges to a team-based approach to healthcare that they are likely to face in their professional careers.
The event was part of an overall effort within CHSP and OU-HCOM to collaborate more both in and outside the classroom. The medical landscape is shifting, the deans of both colleges say, and through events like this, CHSP and OU-HCOM are striving to stay ahead of the curve.
“Medicine is steering away from being provider-focused,” OU-HCOM Dean Jack Brose said. “At one time, medical practice was oriented around the schedules and routines of healthcare providers, with the primary provider expected to manage all aspects of patient care. Now, the focus has shifted almost entirely to the individual patient and the multiple needs of that patient. With the explosion of medical knowledge, a team approach to patient care has become essential.”
The Grand Rounds event brought home this point by focusing on a hypothetical patient.
As background, the program described a real case in which tight end Kevin Everett of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills suffered a fracture and dislocation of his cervical spine in a 2007 game. The injury was life threatening, but thanks to quick and effective work by a wide-range of medical professionals, Everett later was able to walk onto the very field where the injury took place.
The Grand Rounds event explored what would happen if a similar injury was sustained in a high school football game in southeast Ohio. Viewers followed a 16-year-old player – “our Kevin,” as physical therapy panelist and Assistant Professor Petra Williams called him – on his journey from the emergency room all the way through rehab.
The topic was broad enough to give each group of caregivers a connection, while also providing an outlet for diverse areas of expertise. The panel consisted of an athletic trainer, critical care nurse, physician, child-life specialist and physical therapist.
For Nick Massie, an athletic training undergraduate, that the case study was based within an area of his major was just a bonus.
“Getting a wide range of viewpoints is pretty important,” he said. “I even see this (interaction) during my clinical sites. Where I’m at, I have two athletic training graduate students that I work with, and as far as process and evaluations that they use, it’s much different even within the same field.”
The event also served to familiarize the two participating colleges as they head toward a partnership in Ohio University’s Health Sciences Center, which will encompass three main areas: research, clinical and academic.
Getting the colleges together to get familiar – both faculty and students – was a concrete step toward this collaboration. Indeed, one of the motivations behind creation of the Health Sciences Center was to encourage collaboration, CHSP’s Leite said.
“You look at our college and Osteopathic Medicine, they may be right across the street, but there was little interaction,” Leite said. “If you go to a local hospital, you’ll see not only our nursing students there, but also medical students.”
For CHSP, the Grand Rounds was also a way to help establish its new identity. Before a reconfiguration in 2010, it was called the College of Health and Human Services and housed not only health-related programs, but everything from sports administration to retail merchandising.
Today, the college is health-focused, as its new name suggests. This allows for collaborative events such as the Grand Rounds, which the CHSP Interprofessional Education Committee planned as a first step in this new era.
“People were interested in starting right way,” said John McCarthy, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders who heads the committee and moderated the event. “An event like this, outside of the curriculum, is a good way to get started. It’s a way of coming out and telling people that we are interested in doing this, combining with our different departments.”
The committee has more plans in the works, both to help build CHSP’s new health-focused identity and to foster collaborations between CHSP and HCOM. One focus is on combining curriculum, both among fields within CHSP and with programs outside of it that share similar interests. Another idea is to put students on teams to compete in case studies.
Faculty members are providing the framework for this shift in emphasis, but it is ultimately up to the students to see the value in collaboration, McCarthy said.
“It starts to get students thinking, ‘When do I get to start working with these other people?’ It gives them the sense of working as teams,” McCarthy said. “As they go out, they’ll ask, ‘Where’s the team?’ They’ll start to seek that out.”