Written By: Heather Brennan Congdon, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, FNAP, Assistant Dean for Shady Grove and Associate Professor in PPS
As a faculty member at the School of Pharmacy and co-director of the Center for Interprofessional Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), I was thrilled to travel to Annapolis with Jay A. Perman, MD, president of UMB, and student representatives from the Schools of Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work to participate in the state’s inaugural Interprofessional Education (IPE) Advocacy Day on Feb. 21. While students from across the University have historically traveled to Annapolis at different times during the legislative session to advocate on behalf of their professions, this special day provided an opportunity for us to bring all of the professions together to advocate for an interdisciplinary team-based approach to health care.
Delivering a Unified Message
The day began with a message from President Perman about the importance of team-based, interprofessional care in improving patient outcomes. He challenged students to become advocates for this new model of care and shed light on its importance, not only to the legislators with whom they would be speaking that day, but also to other health care professionals and practitioners with whom they might interact throughout their studies and careers. The students were buzzing. You could truly feel the energy surrounding IPE permeate the room.
Once students were equipped with important information about IPE, they separated into smaller teams, with three or four students in each group, and spent the day visiting with senators and delegates from across the state to garner their support for pilot projects to help test and demonstrate the effectiveness of the team-based care model. They also discussed how innovative strategies for bundled reimbursement could better facilitate the implementation of team-based care. In addition to myself, third-year student pharmacists Pamela Younes, Bahareh Ghorashi, and Eli Inscoe represented the School of Pharmacy during the event.
Inspiring Change in Health Care
While Pamela, Bahareh, and Eli joined other interprofessional teams to meet with representatives, I was joined by medical student Deepanjali Jain and nursing student Elizabeth Beeson. We met with Delegates Tawanna Gaines, Christopher West, Marice Morales, and Charles Sydnor III, who each supported the inclusion of IPE in health care. I felt proud to hear Deepanjali and Elizabeth share personal experiences from their education that demonstrated the tremendous impact that team-based care can make in patients’ treatment. It was incredibly inspiring.
Students also had an opportunity to attend the daily legislative session, where they were formally introduced to members of the legislature and received a round of applause. It was a momentous day of advocacy, with both the students and legislators gaining knowledge and insight into this new model of health care.
To learn more about the event, please visit: http://www.umaryland.edu/news/archived-news/february-2017/newspressreleaseshottopics/advocating-for-team-based-health-care.php.