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Associate Provost Caroline Zeind

Associate Provost Caroline Zeind, PharmD on How MCPHS is Meeting the Challenges of a Changing Healthcare Delivery System

  • As Associate Provost for Academic and International Affairs at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), Caroline Zeind, PharmD understands the importance of adapting to a changing healthcare system.

    Before starting at MCPHS in 1995 as a Professor of Pharmacy Practice in the School of Pharmacy, Dr. Zeind worked as a clinical pharmacist at a large teaching hospital while also training pharmacy residents and students on rotations. As a pharmacy educator and leader at MCPHS, she is focused on innovating health sciences education to anticipate the needs of tomorrow’s healthcare system.

    “The healthcare delivery system has become more complex and challenging,” said Dr. Zeind. “As educators, we need to make sure we are optimally preparing our students to enter the healthcare delivery system and to be able to lead and manage change within it.”

    With this mission in mind, Dr. Zeind explains that the University is highly committed to fostering student success across all of our campuses, including online education. “MCPHS is on the forefront of healthcare education,” said Dr. Zeind. “It is the focus of everything we do at every level. We have been doing this for nearly 200 years, so we have a very rich and long tradition in healthcare. We are well prepared for the future of the healthcare system.”

    Interprofessional education is an integral part of meeting the challenges of a changing healthcare system. “The World Health Organization and the National Academy of Medicine have emphasized the importance of interprofessional education and team-based care,” said Dr. Zeind. “Health profession educators are challenged to design interprofessional activities so that students can learn and train within their educational environment.”

    Dr. Zeind, who also serves as Chief Academic Officer for the Worcester and Manchester, NH, campuses, explains that the University is already engaging students, faculty, and staff in interprofessional experiences. “MCPHS has been an early adopter of interprofessional education and team-based care,” said Dr. Zeind. “The healthcare delivery system is evolving, and we want our students to understand that in order to lead and manage change, they have to be able to adapt. They need to be able to work in teams.”

    Interprofessional education at MCPHS recently took another leap; on the Worcester campus, Optometry students and faculty collaborated with visiting Physician Assistant students from the Boston campus to exchange knowledge and concepts. Dr. Zeind explains that these types of experiences can be invaluable to students as they prepare for their future roles as healthcare providers. “As a University focused on healthcare, we must prepare our students to be practice ready, to go into the field of healthcare and to make a difference in the lives of their patients,” said Dr. Zeind.

    Dr. Zeind says that a focus on gaining practical hands-on experience is critical for health sciences students. “We want to make sure that our students are well prepared before they even go into the clinical setting as part of their training,” said Dr. Zeind. “Our facilities allow our students to apply their skills in the lab practicum in a simulation setting, and that is a very important part of their preparation before they go out on clinical rotations.”

    For students, that means putting the knowledge and the ideas they learn in lectures into practice in a variety of settings on campus. Physician Assistant and Nursing students gain vital experience in patient assessment laboratories, while occupational therapy students learn in the newly renovated sensory integration pediatric laboratory.

    Dr. Zeind explains that experiences like these are critical as students begin clinical placements. “Our facilities are designed to prepare our students for the environment that they will see when they go out into the clinical setting,” said Dr. Zeind.

    Dr. Zeind also points to the University’s emphasis on compassionate patient care. “We understand the importance of training health professionals who are caring and ethical in their approach to practice,” said Dr. Zeind. “We’re focused on serving our patients. It’s really the heart of what we do in healthcare.”

    That compassion is exemplified through community outreach, an integral part of the University’s mission. “When you look at healthcare, a big part of that is community outreach,” said Dr. Zeind. “MCPHS is committed to working in the community. Our faculty, staff, and students are all actively engaged in community outreach.”

    For Dr. Zeind, all this culminates in the realization of the University’s ultimate mission: educating the next generation of healthcare leaders.

    “We are very proud of our graduates,” said Dr. Zeind. “I am so impressed with their success in the healthcare field. They are making a difference in patients’ lives, and also in communities.”