A Message from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Nursing; Dean, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
A focus on interprofessional education results in the development of health-care leaders
UC Davis Health System envisions interprofessional collaboration as essential to advance and improve health care for all. To reach this goal, we must approach interprofessional education from many angles including structure, education, research and culture.
As Vice Chancellor Claire Pomeroy shared in her State of the Health System Address last month, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing leads many health system efforts in interprofessional education. The reason is simple: the school is founded on this core value where students are prepared to work deliberately and collaboratively together.
Extending beyond the School of Nursing, yet critical to our success in this area, is the health system’s commitment to interprofessional education as a goal in the 2011-2016 Strategic Plan. The School of Nursing can only achieve its vision for interprofessional education if all health professions embrace the concept.
This new school has a unique opportunity to develop interprofessional programs and opportunities while we concurrently evaluate our successes and failures to improve our impact.
The very structure of the School of Nursing is interprofessional, with the establishment of the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group to lead the master’s- and doctoral-degree programs. Graduate groups embody the collaborative spirit at UC Davis by bringing together faculty from departments across campus who share common research interests that span academic disciplines. The graduate group concept, one that is unique to UC Davis, has established a culture of interaction across departmental boundaries and has helped to shape the distinctive character of the university.
The Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group currently includes 40 faculty from a variety of disciplines including nursing, medicine, public health, biology, nutrition, informatics and statistics. Graduate group members lead curriculum development, guide student admissions and confer the degrees. Importantly, they also serve as advisers to the graduate students, providing access to a multitude of perspectives and thus an interactive learning environment spanning many professions.
In the first year, interprofessional courses included Reducing Cancer and Health Disparities and Geographic Information Systems. Medical and nursing students attended both courses. A variety of interprofessional workshops were conducted and master’s-degree students participated in a community fieldwork course where they partnered with regional organizations to solve complex health-care issues.
New courses are underway. For example, graduate faculty Debra Bakerjian and associate professor Ulfat Shaikh will conduct a new study module in the fall, Improving Quality in Health Care. This module will be open to all Schools of Health students. Participants will work in interdisciplinary teams throughout the course. The development of the module is the result of student demand. The Quality Improvement Student Interest Group, which includes nursing, informatics, medical and public health students, requested additional educational opportunities. Bakerjian and Shaikh developed the course after receiving support from students throughout the Schools of Health.
I am delighted to collaborate with pain expert Scott Fishman to lead an interprofessional team of UC Davis Health System faculty for the development of an innovative pain-management curriculum for both nursing and medical students, as well as current practitioners. This summer we will host a summit of nationally recognized pain-management experts from a variety of disciplines to provide input for the new competencies as well as educational strategies.
Interprofessional approaches with an emphasis on team science are the focus for Associate Dean for Research Jill Joseph as she guides the development of a research program. The complex problems in health and health care today require interdisciplinary approaches to discover and implement transformative solutions.
The development of a variety of interprofessional student interest groups, student leadership organizations, lectures, research symposia and the Interprofessional Book Club, also ensures our vision to engage students of different professions permeates our culture at the School of Nursing and across all Schools of Health.
The concept of team-based education for health professions is not new. This new school is dedicated to interprofessional education as a constant thread through all we do, creating our distinction. A commitment to this value furthers our mission to improve lives and transform health care. We thank our many collaborators from an array of disciplines for joining us in this endeavor.
Heather M. Young, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Nursing, UC Davis
Founding Dean, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis