Lobster and Learning

Some time ago, Shelley Cohen Konrad asked me to visit the University of New England to present to a Macy Foundation-sponsored summit focused on the Nexus of integrated practice and education. Within a comprehensive curriculum plan, Shelley and her colleagues have created an innovative community-based IPE program and a range of opportunities for students to learn teamwork skills. By hosting the summit, they envision a closer relationship with Maine’s practice community to strengthen their already robust IPE program.

The summit was a huge success. More than 100 practitioners, health systems leaders, faculty, staff and students participated in the two-day meeting. I met enthusiastic practice community representatives from federally qualified health centers, large medical centers and other organizations.

During the day, there were many stories about teamwork in rural practice and collaboration at multiple levels. Maine’s health care sector is clearly innovating – creating a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations State Innovations Model grant, integrating behavioral health and primary care, and working on incorporating public health into clinical practice. The nursing program has a Health Resources and Services Administration NEPQR grant. The UNE evaluation team is partnering with University of Missouri-Kansas City to map their team-based projects to the Triple Aim. UNE is building a robust profile on the National Center Resource Exchange. Check out the video produced for the summit and Jennifer Morton’s evaluation of the UNE HRSA-funded Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention (NEPQR) project. Jen and Susan Kimball of UMKC’s presentation “Measuring the Difference: Interprofessional Education and Care in Clinical Settings” is also available on Jen’s profile, linking to the Resource Exchange.

National Center friends also presented at the summit. The Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) liaison to our National Advisory Council, Dr. Steve Shannon, president of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and past dean of UNE’s College of Osteopathic medicine, gave a presentation about the history of IPE and the IPEC competencies and future plans. He also shared AACOM’s commitment to interprofessional practice and interprofessional collaborative practice. George Thibault, M.D., president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, and Frederick (Freddy) Chen, M.D., M.P.H, one of our HRSA project officers, gave their perspectives of the current national environment. Days like this continue to underscore that much energy is building to connect health care transformation and health professions education.. Without any preparation, we come together and immediately are on the same page.

A fun part of the visit was listening to the Maine Public Broadcast Network’s coverage of interprofessional education on the evening before the summit. Like old times (think Prairie Home Companion), we huddled around the radio for the special five-minute segment on teamwork in health care and UNE’s programs.

I’ve always loved Maine—the mix of towns and rural settings is charming, and the lobster is great. But, Maine can be proud of more than just its beauty and seafood. It can be very proud of the innovative professionals working so diligently together to transform health care. I know I’m proud of their work, and so are many others.