National Competition Tests Interprofessional Skills

During a recent weekend, a Northeast Ohio Medical University team participated in the Clarion Interprofessional Case Competition at the University of Minnesota. The interprofessional NEOMED team was one of 14 teams of pharmacy, medicine, nursing, social work and public health students who came from across the nation to design system-based solutions to health and cultural issues in a community.

Each team was charged with creating a solution for a case study, then presenting it to a mock community board consisting of judges playing the roles of school principal, a mental health care nurse from the regional medical center, a physician from the migrant health center and a community partner.

NEOMED’s team consisted of Ashley Klarich and Trevor Jones, both third-year College of Pharmacy students; Michael Tandon, a medical school graduate and currently a master of public health student at NEOMED; and Andrew D’Alessandro, a fourth-year College of Medicine student. Ashley Klarich contributed this report.

In a health care system where the patient-centered medical home and interprofessional healthcare teams are the new standards in practice, the opportunity to tackle a case study with my NEOMED classmates in a national competition like Clarion sounded appealing.

Each interprofessional team received its sample case eight weeks before the competition, allowing us to collaborate, research and perfect our solutions for the competition. During this time, our NEOMED team took advantage of the valuable resources on campus. We spoke to a Certified Community Health Worker (cCHW), who explained the benefits of having these professionals in communities, and the necessary steps to train them. We spoke with a member of the NEOMED community with expertise in migrant health and personal experience in interacting with this population. And we made two mock presentations, after which we received feedback from faculty members, community members, and even a retired school principal.

Treating a Town Like Hamilton

When we first arrived at the University of Minnesota, an opening reception for all the teams gave us the opportunity to talk with students from a wide range of professions. On the day of the competition, the faculty and professionals from the University of Minnesota and surrounding health systems posed as the community board. At this time, each team was given 20 minutes to present our solutions—including English language training, a school-based health center, healthy schools program, integrated electronic medical systems and more. The community board members were then given ten minutes to ask questions about the presentation.

After a debriefing by each team’s appointed mentor, everyone attended a final reception where the winning teams were acknowledged and judges’ comments were presented.

It was a completely new and exciting experience to see all of the different ideas and perspectives of different professionals when dealing with challenges outside of the classroom. Participating in the Clarion Competition gave us the opportunity to experience all the stages of developing effective teams.

Trevor Jones, a third-year pharmacy student, said, “I learned the importance of communication and the value of considering every opinion and idea, since each person offers a different perspective and unique method of problem-solving.’’

Although NEOMED did not win the competition, our team was publicly acknowledged as a model of professionalism during the competition—an unofficial title we were happy to bring back with us to Rootstown, Ohio.

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