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February 5, 2004


Different points of view

Ryan Snelgrove and Tammy Olsson
Photo by HSIMS
Ryan Snelgrove and Tammy Olsson
By Sharon Gray
Depending on your professional perspective, strategies to solving any social issue can vary. Students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work are finding that out first-hand as they expand their experience in working together in interdisciplinary teams by looking at case studies based on incidents that have happened in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Interprofessional Education Project is part of the Faculty of Medicine’s Centre for Collaborative Health Professional Education (CCHPE). Under the direction of Dr. Vernon Curran, six case studies were selected by a team of faculty from medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work. With students from first-year medicine, second-year pharmacy, fourth-year social work and third-year nursing (at both the School of Nursing and Centre for Nursing studies), 33 teams of seven to eight students have spent three weeks coming up with strategies to deal with the issues raised by the cases.

One case study concerns a mental health issue with police involvement. Another is on an Aboriginal health issue looking at the movement to a new community and how to introduce health practices into a new life. There’s a study about occupational and environmental health that looks at a community with a refinery – students are expected to identify the health concerns and develop strategies that could be implemented to help the overall health of the community, taking into account the economic impact of that refinery. The other three case studies involve healthy schools, obsession with dieting, and the problems facing seniors in rural areas.

Since the beginning of the winter semester, each of the 33 groups has met three times and at each meeting students bring information to the group from research they have done. On the evenings of Feb. 11 and 12, between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm, the student groups will make concurrent presentations on their results.

Elizabeth Ohle, coordinator of the Interprofessional Education Project, is excited about the interest the project has generated among students, faculty and outside stakeholders. “We have invited community stakeholders to come and be part of the process. There’s a lot of interest from those people, and also from faculty not involved in the project but who have heard about it – for example there are about six faculty interested in Aboriginal issues and they will use these meetings to come and hear the students and discuss their common concerns.”

Ms. Ohle said the project has been successful in helping students learn to work in interdisciplinary teams, and it will also show community stakeholders that there can be different approaches to solving health issues. “Because there are five or six groups looking at each case, the presentations will show not only what solutions an interdisciplinary team comes up with, but also what a variety of different teams looking at the same issue come up with as strategies.”

For further information on the Interprofessional Education Project, you can contact Elizabeth Ohle at 777-8581 or at


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Next issue: February 19, 2003

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