July 23, 2024
Health professional students gather for inaugural IPE-ACTS Day

In late January, more than 1,300 students from Emory University’s schools of medicine, nursing and public health came together to participate in IPE-ACTS Day, the signature event of Emory’s new interprofessional education course for health science students.

The program — IPE-ACTS (Interprofessional Education – Achieving Collaborative Team Solutions) — challenges teams of first-year health professional students to solve an Atlanta-based health problem. It is directed by the Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s Office of Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (IPECP).

Students apply the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) competencies during problem-solving.

“We are thrilled to launch IPE-ACTS this year as it provides an exciting new, applied way for students to learn both the IPEC competencies, which is essential for their future careers, and help some of our most vulnerable communities by developing ideas to positively change some of Atlanta’s most pressing health inequities,” says Jodie Guest, co-director of the Office of IPECP.

During IPE-ACTS Day, students were divided into 132 teams, with 12-14 teams focusing on each health challenge. The teams in each health challenge attended a lecture presented by one of the program’s faculty champions, an interprofessional group of Emory faculty and Emory Healthcare professionals. The 2024 faculty champions leading the 10 health challenges are:

  • Susan Brasher, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing: Childhood Literacy
  • Janikqua Cutno, LMSW, Emory Hillandale Hospital, Emory Healthcare: Violence Prevention
  • Sarah Febres-Cordero, PhD, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing: Opioid Crisis
  • Ilana Graetz, PhD, Rollins School of Public Health: Diabetes Outcomes
  • Jodie Guest, PhD, MPH, Rollins School of Public Health: Science Disinformation
  • Shawana Moore, DNP, MSN, CRNP, WHNP-CB, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing: Maternal Health
  • Rebecca Philipsborn, MPA, MD, Emory University School of Medicine: Climate Justice
  • Jason Schneider, MD, FACP, Emory University School of Medicine: Gender Care
  • Aaron Siegler, MHS, PhD, Rollins School of Public Health: HIV PrEP
  • Martha Ward, MD, Emory University School of Medicine: Mental Health

After attending their health challenge lectures, students met with team members to brainstorm ideas for their specific health challenge. Student teams also met with their team advisor. These advisors — health professional trainees or students in at least their second year — will work with teams on IPEC competencies and health challenge-specific issues throughout the semester.

Each team will develop a five-minute video of their health challenge solution. The faculty champion for each health challenge and two additional subject-matter experts will evaluate the videos and select a winning team for the topic. These top 10 teams will advance to a final-round event on April 12, where they will present their concepts to the three WHSC deans. The three deans will select the winning IPE-ACTS team.

“IPE-ACTS is already a tremendous success as it has brought together faculty, students and staff from Emory’s three health professional schools to work together during IPE-ACTS Day,” says Beth Ann Swan, co-director of the Office of IPECP. “It was wonderful to see our health professional students excited to work together on these health challenges not only as an academic exercise but also with the goal of generating ideas that could improve the health of Atlanta’s inequitably served communities.”

In addition to the applied competition component of IPE-ACTS, students take didactic modules explaining IPEC competencies and pre- and post-assessments to evaluate the course’s effectiveness. These assessments will provide key data for improving the course for future students and scholarship purposes.

Guest and Swan created the concept for IPE-ACTS with the three WHSC deans as they sought ways to build an interactive interprofessional program for Emory. Guest and Swan established and led an interprofessional leadership team of faculty and staff from the schools of medicine, nursing and public health to guide the program’s development. Other leadership team members include Douglas Ander, MD (SOM-MD); Rebecca Baggett, MA, MPH (Office of IPECP); Sarah Blake, PhD, MA (RSPH); Beth Davis, PT, DPT, MBA, FNAP (SOM-DPT); Laurie Gaydos, PhD (RSPH); and Laika Steiger, MBA, FACHE (SON).

“We are fortunate to work with some of Emory’s leaders in interprofessional education who had already laid an excellent foundation for the development and implementation of IPE-ACTS,” Guest says. “Because of our engaged leadership team, we were able to develop the program quickly and thoughtfully, which resulted in our ambitious and successful program launch this academic year. We were thrilled with the success of IPE-ACTS Day, and we are looking forward to seeing the great ideas that our health professional students will generate to improve the health of our communities.”

For more information on IPE-ACTS, please visit the Office of IPECP website. You can learn more about the development of the program in Intersections: The Education Journal of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

Health professional students gather for inaugural IPE-ACTS Day

Photos by Rebecca Baggett, Jodie Guest and Beth Ann Swan.

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