What is Interprofessional Education?

 

Last year when I volunteered at the Catholic Charities Wellness and Resource Fair, I met a lot of friendly UIW students from the other professional schools, but a pharmacy professor, Dr. Cynthia Nguyen, taught me something that has stuck with me ever since. Dr. Nguyen told me about Interprofessional Education and how it can change the face of healthcare for the better. The World Health Organization describes Interprofessional Education (IPE) as when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. Efficient team work implies shared decision making and responsibilities, consensus on the ethical principles, constructive conflict management, and reflection of the role of each member within the team (Narayanan). Only recently have I learned that the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry is one of only a handful of optometry programs that integrate IPE into the academic and clinical experience.

In addition to optometry, UIW has multiple health professional programs such as pharmacy, physical therapy (PT), and nursing. Each program has a solid curriculum, however the programs rarely interact. This is definitely changing. Dr. Cynthia Nguyen joined the Feik School of Pharmacy as the Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (IPECP) Coordinator and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. She is currently working with other health disciplines at the University of the Incarnate Word to enhance an Interprofessional Education model and clinical site that allows students an opportunity to be a part of a patient-centered, multidisciplinary healthcare team. 

From left to right: Nicole Ghitea, Calvin Sanchez, Alissa Davenport, and Susan Ly.
From left to right: Nicole Ghitea, Calvin Sanchez, Alissa Davenport, and Susan Ly.

I too, believe that integrated professional education can lead to better integrated care and ultimately a better patient experience. So I volunteered to join the IPE group in the fall of 2014 and that has been one of my best experiences at UIW! The IPE group of 60 or so students would meet weekly on Wednesday at the Bowden Eye and Vision Care Clinic. Every IPE morning, the faculty would place 4-5 students from Pharmacy, Optometry, Physical Therapy, and Nursing into a team. Among our team, we would have a team meeting on communication and the plan for our upcoming patients. In addition to meeting with our IPE teams, the faculty would prepare lectures. The topics of the lectures and meetings were about how IPE works in caring for chronic illnesses, such as diabetes. Currently, type 2 diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, affecting 29.1 million people (9.3% of the population). The prevalence of diabetes is expected to continue to rise in American adults, dubbing it as the pandemic of the 21st century. Because diabetes is a chronic condition, having a team of providers as opposed to one provider can greatly improve health outcomes and compliance.

We were assigned one patient per team. Each team traveled together so I was able to see what the other professionals did in an exam. What was once a big mystery is now clear to me. Everyone was awed by my eye exam because they did not know why the optometrist do what they did. Throughout the morning we explained to the patient and each other the importance of our procedures in monitoring diabetes. It was such a great learning experience. I especially like to listen to how the other professional students spoke with the patient, the questions that they ask, and the language that was used; I reflected on how I could reword my questions during case histories for a better patient experience.

The IPE program is generating much interest at UIW.  Students from the different health professional schools are currently working on a constitution to form an interprofessional student group with a mission to optimize health care. Calvin Sanchez, a second year pharmacy student at UIW, invited two nursing students Nicole Ghitea and Alissa Davenport, and myself to the first interprofessional executive board meeting. Since then Danielle Kimbrough, a Physical Therapy student, has joined and we have communicated via email and met on Google hangouts to talk about the plans for this student group. This is all very exciting and I’m glad that I had the opportunity at UIW to meet such amazing people! One of our plans was to meet at a restaurant for a meet and greet! Over 20 students and faculty came out to the mixer in the seafood resturant, Ceviche 210. I enjoyed a delicious fish taco and enjoyed a pleasant afternoon with my new UIW friends!

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References

Narayanan, Srihari, Timothy Wingert, and Patricia Sanchez-Diaz. “Interprofessional Education Challenges With Implementation In An Optometric Curriculum.” Interprofessional Education Challenges With Implementation In An Optometric Curriculum. American Academy of Optometry, 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.

Politically Involved as an Optometry Student

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Left to Right: Duc Tran, Denisse Lopez, Reid Cluff, and Dr. Narayanan.

As an optometry student, I admired how the InfantSEE®/Optometry Cares program was established by optometrists lobbying and networking with U.S. politicians.  InfantSEE is just one of the many feats that the AOA – American Optometric Association have made possible to the public and demonstrated support for optometrists. In hopes of becoming a part of the legislative activity, I became an officer of the Student Texas Optometric Association (STOA).  It was my goal to take an active role in the political association that opens doors for optometrists as well as improves the visual welfare of the people. At the Texas Optometric Association (TOA) board meetings, I was very impressed by the leadership and organization that the executive board possessed and they taught me the importance of proper communication with other leaders (I’ll talk more about the TOA and STOA in future blogs). Today, I would like to blog about the active political student leaders at our schoolIMG_20150128_123000 .

The UIWRSO trustees of AOSA – American Optometric Student Association, Denisse Lopez and Reid Cluff; are not only academically outstanding, but represent our school in Optometry’s Meeting and the AOSA Board of Trustees meeting. They connect RSO students to the other optometry students across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico via the AOSA Board of Trustees. In addition to expanding their network, the trustees also write about their school, for example, Denisse has published multiple articles in the AOSA Foresight magazine. The trustees also meet with industry leaders and hold events at RSO to fundraise and support students. Lastly to update RSO with what AOSA is doing and vice versa, the trustees attend monthly meetings and communicate directly with the RSO Student Government Association and Dean.

AOA-PAC is the American Optometric Association – Political Action Committee.  It is a subdivision of the AOA that focuses in fighting for pro-optometric laws. AOA-PAC does not have a local chapter at RSO. It is solely a national organization that has local liaisons assisting in its outreach programs. To support AOA in its political activism, Duc Tran, UIWRSO Class of 2015 and AOA-PAC Liaison, led a luncheon meeting for students to learn about optometric advocacy, where he discussed details regarding the Congressional Advocacy Conference (CAC) in Washington, DC in April 12 – 14, 2015. Duc attended the CAC meeting last year and shared with us his journey talking to politicians with optometric activists.

I’m glad that I have met such great friends and colleagues at UIWRSO, and the message that I would like to share is that optometry school is not just about your current coursework, but the start to your career and begin building your professional network. Your school’s Student Optometric Association is linked to the State Optometric Association which is connected to the American Optometric Association. By getting involved at school, you can open many doors along the way, just like it has for me!

The American Academy of Optometry 2014

UIWRSO Group Picture at AAO 2014!
UIWRSO Group Picture at AAO 2014!

 

When I stepped off the plane in Denver, Colorado, I turned to my classmate, Alicia Chacon, and asked “why would they have a convention in such a cold place?” Our phones alerted us that it will be -9 degrees Fahrenheit tonight and I felt my toes turn numb. Coming from San Antonio, Texas, we were definitely taken by surprised. However I probably spent only a total of 20 minutes outside in the beautiful flurry of snow and learned a life-long lesson.

The University of the Incarnate Word, Rosenberg School of Optometry had over two dozen students in attendance at the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), 2014. Last year there were over 300 students from across the nation, but this year Academy reported over 1000 students in attendance, the largest in attendance ever! Our school definitely has a huge emphasis in optometric research. This year our local chapter of AAO, led by student intern, Ashley Plyant, did an amazing job educating students about the importance of supporting Optometric Research and rallying a group of students to attend the Academy. As a result, we had more UIWRSO students than ever attend.

A handful of students who participated in optometric research were very excited to see their abstracts accepted into the Academy. I am a student researcher who is just learning the research process: from forming the hypothesis, to data collection, to presenting, and publishing. The concept of research was once so confusing, but now has become so clear thanks to the Academy. The summation of our research teams’ work is now shared with an audience of doctors who are curious, questioning, and learning. Dr. Trevino presented our research results in an interesting, clear and concise manner, that it kept the audience on their toes. When I sat in the rooms of the Academy, I learned so much, the education provided in optometry school is just the basics, there are optometric scientists always striving to to find better and better ways to care for their patients from innovation to new discoveries.

10270464_372776716215512_5067311626676979005_nOn Thursday night, UIWRSO hosted an Academy Networking Reception. Our Dean, Dr. Wingert sat in the front to welcome us to the reception with some food and drinks. I was so glad that I came because I saw faces of my TAs from first year, the rest of class of 2013 and 2014! The class of 2013 and 2014 were the first two classes to graduate from UIWRSO. They were an amazing bunch who pioneered through the program and helped to contribute to the way our school runs today. The interns, now doctors, started most of the school organizations and laid the foundation for how active our school is today. I have much respect for them and I’m really glad that they came out to this networking reception! In fact, a great amount of our graduates went on to pursue a residency; so they came back telling the students about their experiences. My classmates had a great time talking to the recent graduates, the resident, and the our faculty that came out that night.

Most of the students wanted to obtain their student fellowship at the Academy. The requirements are as follows: 4 hours of Continuing Education, 2 hours of attending paper presentations, 2 hours of attending poster presentations, a symposium on a specific topic such as Low Vision or Glaucoma, and various students meetings such as the AAO business meeting, the student networking lunch, and more. You can learn more from: (http://www.aaopt.org/students/fellowship).  It sounds like a lot right? The reason that the Academy has launched this exciting new Student Fellowship program is to encourage students to experience the entire meeting, hoping that it will stimulate improved integration of all of the opportunities offered at the meeting, encourage future involvement, and persuade students to become Fellows upon graduation. I really enjoyed picking the CEs that interested me and because the Academy was able to offer so many courses, some of my classmates were able to complete the requirements in two days. I truly enjoyed my experience at the Academy and I would love to come back again and again!

Listening in and learning at the COVD Convention

Thank you OEP for the student travel grant!  From Left to right: Maggie Fransisco, Susan Ly, Kory Botelho, Nikolai Perez, Current OEP Resident - Sandy Tran, OD, Kelin Kushin, Optometrists Change Lives Writing Competition student winner - Katie Davis, OD.
Thank you OEP for the student travel grant! From Left to right: Maggie Fransisco, Susan Ly, Kory Botelho, Nikolai Perez, Current OEP Resident – Sandy Tran, OD, OEP Executive Director – Kelin Kushin, Optometrists Change Lives Writing Competition student winner – Katie Davis, OD.

The Optometric Extension Program (OEP) helped me travel to the 2014 COVD (College of Optometrists in Vision Development) Convention through a travel grant. I am very grateful for this opportunity because I have been interested in attending since my first year in optometry school. I know that each optometry convention that I attend has their interests and specific courses of continuing education, but what I liked most about COVD was the community’s passion to help their patients. In all the CEs and sessions that I attended, one theme resonated, how can optometrists educate parents and other health professionals about what we do, so that we can give better patient care. I really enjoyed hearing about case studies of co-management of pediatric patients with ophthalmologists and neurologists because I plan to practice progressively to give my patients holistic, inter-professional, health care. COVD focuses on many other topics, for example, below are the COVD statements; you can read more here.

COVD Mission Statement

Improving lives by advancing excellence in optometric vision therapy through education and board certification.

COVD Vision Statement

To facilitate ongoing progress in developmental vision care, advocate for wider adoption of optometric vision therapy, and increase recognition of its integral role in enhancing learning, rehabilitation, productivity, and overall quality of life.

The exhibit hall was like none that I have ever seen before! Due to the specific instruments and equipment needed to practice Vision Therapy (VT) and rehabilitation, I was able to talk to vendors who sell to this specialty and learn more about their products. As a great appreciator of technology, I was drawn to the G-lab booth because they had a stereoscope for an iPad and an app that allows for interactive vision evaluation and therapy. My good friend, Nikolai Perez, the current OEP national student liaison, was a vision therapist before attending the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, School of Optometry. He saw the potential in this instrument and purchased one at the convention. I was really glad that I was able to travel the exhibition hall with someone that has prior experience as a therapist because it contributed to my understanding of vision therapy patients and clinically working with VT equipment in preparation for my fourth year in optometry school. 

Mrs. Benoit and Mrs. Kushin at the OEP Table
Mrs. Benoit and Mrs. Kushin at the OEP Table

Kelin Kushin, Executive Director of the Optometric Extension Program Foundation, gave every student a Brock’s String. Mrs. Kushin has expanded OEP, especially within the optometry student community; she has also helped organized many events with our school, such as a Skype meeting with Dr. Susan Barry, author of Fixing My Gaze, and a Skype meeting with Mrs. Benoit, author of Jillian’s Story. It was also a great pleasure to finally meet Mrs. Robin Benoit in person at the OEP table; she is very friendly and has been conducting Skype meetings with our school for the past two years! The Brock’s String was a thoughtful gift and I was really happy because we have just learned in RSO’s Vision Therapy course the clinical uses for the Brock’s String. In fact, one of our VT professors, Dr. Yukata Maki, Chief of the Vision Therapy and Binocular Vision Service, has just received his fellowship with COVD, under the following rigorous requirements. It is a great honor and Dr. Maki is now board certified in Vision Development and Vision Therapy. The UIWRSO student COVD chapter celebrated his new achievement with a group meeting and a chocolate cake!

Practice Management for the Optometric Student

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Mr. Rob Grim, COE, Eye Care Business Advisor

As a student at UIWRSO, our professional growth and development is always supported by faculty, staff, and administration.  Students interested in pursuing a path toward private practice enjoyed a recent visit by Mr. Robert Grim! He was a guest speaker invited by the UIWRSO Private Practice Club because of his experiences in the business world and in optometry consultations.  Mr. Grim advises with medical practices, physician networks, ambulatory surgery centers, hospitals, and managed care organizations. His expertise includes human resources, employee development, coaching, leadership training, team building, sales training, marketing, business development, strategic planning, financial analysis, and overall practice efficiency. He has been working in the field of eye care for 11 years! The lecture topic was about Practice Management where he catered the lecture to optometry students. Over 70 students attended and Dr. Aitsebaomo, one of our practice management professors, played an active part in integrating Mr. Grim’s topic with application to his private practice! 

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Mr. Rob Grim with Susan Ly, UIWRSO Private Practice Club President

Many people enjoyed the seafood pasta dinner catered by Pappadeaux and sponsored by Allergan. I heard positive feedback from the attendees; most students were glad to have attended this event because of all the business tips they received and they felt like they had a clearer understanding of the optometry sector from the business point of view and from an educator’s point of view. My favorite part of the lecture was how Mr. Grim used numbers and charts to quantify and make his point. The graphs that he talked about kept students alert because they focused on the rising need for primary eye care physicians. He complemented that topic with where that niche is growing. The baby boomers are aging and the graphs showed the students that this correlates positively with aging eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma (see slide below). The future of optometry sounds bright for optometrists and I’m glad to have learned so much from our guest speaker and from our practice management professor.

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A slide from Mr. Grim’s lecture about aging and incidence of eye diseases.