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Professor works with students during IPE event.

All for One Healthcare Practice: The Interprofessional Education Conference at MCPHS University

  • In the world of healthcare, collaboration is the key to successful patient care especially when the topic is appropriate prescribing and monitoring of opioid medications and the management of opioid overdoses. This "all for one and one for all" method of clinical practice is modeled in our Interprofessional Education (IPE) program which brings together health care students from different professions learning and interacting with one another. For the first time in its long history, MCPHS School of Pharmacy-Boston integrated medical, dental and pharmacy students in the Pharmacy Practice Therapeutics Seminar Course over two days in early February of 2019.

    Professor Michael Carvalho, Assistant Dean of Interprofessional Education Programs for the School of Pharmacy-Boston, spearheaded the event along with faculty from MCPHS School of Pharmacy-Boston, the Tufts University School of Medicine, and the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. All converged on the Boston Campus along with the entire class (300) of the fifth-year Pharmacy students, all 200 of the second-year Tufts Medical School class and 80 Tufts Dental students.

    After an initial orientation in Stoklosa Hall, students were divided into small groups in breakout classroom sessions where a case of acute pain in an opioid dependent patient on medication-assisted treatment was discussed with faculty serving as facilitators. Smaller teams consisting of three pharmacy students, two medical students and one dental student shared in the discussion of the diagnosis, treatment options and special risks involved in the management of the patient. The perspective and specialized training of each student discipline was utilized to simulate a real-time team approach to patient-centered care. As the case progressed, the need for opioid overdose rescue ensued and a naloxone (Narcan) training took place. The recognition and acute treatment of an opioid overdose was reviewed with the pharmacy students teaching the medical and dental students about the proper use of the various naloxone products in this life-saving procedure.

    Bob Hallisey, Adjunct Professor of Pharmacy at MCPHS University, also a pharmacist at Massachusetts General Hospital for many years, spoke on the importance of interprofessional education. “In a hospital, ER, or clinic, no one person is responsible for all treatment. The perspective of each individual profession is needed... for instance, as a pharmacist, I do not diagnose, but when I am given a diagnosis, it’s my job to know drugs A, B, and C for that diagnosis, as well as drug choices 1A, 2A, 1B, etc. The best patient treatment decisions must be shared among providers with different expertise to optimize patient outcomes.”

    Robin Harvan, EdD, Professor of Health Sciences, Director of Health Sciences Programs and Co-Chair (along with Michael Carvalho and Lisa Heard of the Boston Interprofessional Education Task Force representing all schools on campus), commented, “The focus of the activity is not only on the opioid case discussion, but also the benefits of interprofessional collaboration. Having students engage in case discussions from their professional perspective makes them able to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the other members of a healthcare team.”

    As the case discussion ended, there was a clear feeling of collaboration and an all for one clinical practice in the minds of the future healthcare leaders. Assistant Dean Carvalho applauded all the participants saying that “this event was a milestone in interprofessional healthcare education in Boston and a great step forward for MCPHS collaboration with our Medical and Dental School partners especially given the need for more training in dealing with the opioid epidemic”.