Hundreds of UConn Interprofessional Health Students Gather at UConn Health

Dr. Ellen Nestler of UConn School of Medicine speaking to a group of interprofessional health students gathered at UConn Health for Deans' Afternoon hailing from across the University of Connecticut (UConn Health Photo/Lauren Woods).

The UConn Committee on Interprofessional Excellence in Healthcare (CIPEH) hosted the annual Deans’ Afternoon at the UConn School of Medicine and Dental Medicine on Oct. 4.

More than 450 UConn students and 60 faculty participated from 9 health professional UConn schools and programs of dentistry, dietitian, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, social work and speech, and language and hearing programs. The cross-campus event introduced UConn’s health professional students to the concept of interprofessional education and its critical importance to their education and future health care careers.

“Our mission is to transform health education and health care delivery, by introducing interprofessional education that our students can eventually carry into interprofessional practice,” said Dr. Sree Raghavendra of UConn School of Dental Medicine and subcommittee co-chair of the Interprofessional Deans’ Day.

According to sub-committee co-chair, Dr. Jakubisin Konicki of UConn School of Nursing, the Deans’ Afternoon is: “Based on the core principle of interprofessional education, that is learn from, with and about the other health professionals to achieve the best patient care.”

“Success at the patient, system and societal level requires teamwork and collaboration among and between members of the health care professions represented today as well as others,” shared Dr. Ellen O. Nestler of UConn School of Medicine with the students gathered in Massey Auditorium at UConn Health. Nestler served as one of the faculty leads for the event and is associate dean for clinical medical education.

“We are all here to improve outcomes for our patients,” stressed faculty lead Dr. Elias Chatah of UConn School of Dental Medicine while speaking to students gathered in UConn Health’s Academic Rotunda. “The most important thing today is for you all to get to know one another.”

Dean’s Afternoon is supported by the Deans of the respective schools and is a required curricular activity for the students from each school.  The event serves as an introduction for early students to begin to recognize the daily collaborative efforts of health care providers in order to deliver high quality care to patients, and the importance of communication for high quality care and patient safety.

During the event’s team-based learning activities the students worked toward identifying various opportunities for future collaboration by working on a patient case study, how to break down possible myths and barriers to quality health care, and exchanged information with other interprofessional students.

For this year’s Interprofessional Deans’ Day other cross-campus faculty room leads included Valarie Artigas (SON), Hugh Blumenfeld (SOM), Maryclaire Capetta (DPT), Kevin Chamberlin (SOP), Craig Denegar (DPT), Nicole Gallagher (SLHS), Kim Giwa (SON), Jean McCarthy (SLHS), Douglas Peterson (SODM), and Rupal Rarekh (SW).