Interprofessional Course Work Yields Student Experience, Service
Traci Yoshikawa OT ’15 grew up in Hawai‘i but chose to pursue an occupational therapy degree at Pacific University because she has family nearby.
Anthony Lombardi PsyD ’17 came from Michigan to earn a doctorate in psychology, basing his move on the strength of Pacific’s reputation.
And Sue Xiong MHA ’14, who works full time at Salem Hospital, was drawn by the flexibility of Pacific’s master of healthcare administration program.
They came from all over the country, for all sorts of reasons — but for the last year, Yoshikawa, Lombardi, Xiong and four additional students from other graudate programs have worked together as part of their interprofessional competency, or IPC, course.
Students from programs within the College of Health Professions, as well as from the College of Education’s new master’s program in speech-language pathology participate in the IPC. They meet throughout the year, sharing their experiences. They also work in teams of about eight, with as much diversity of discipline as possible, to plan and complete a project with a local nonprofit organization.
As small groups, they are charged with identifying their roles and responsibilities within an interprofessional team, understanding their team dynamic and professional relationships, working on effective communication, and learning to appreciate their differences — as well as serving in a community organization and presenting a poster session on their project.
“The idea is for them to know how to work together interprofessionally, for them to work collaboratively as a healthcare team,” said Mark Della Paolera, assistant professor of pharmacy and one of the course coordinators.
Some groups worked with the Oregon Food bank, Portland’s Potluck in the Park program, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity or Meals on Wheels.
Xiong said her group chose the Goose Hollow Family Shelter for their project and ended up spending time with kids whose families were staying there.
“They provide shelter and dinner, and a place for kids and families to hang out at night,” Xiong said.
Volunteers bring in dinner for the families who stay in the shelter and spend time playing and reading with the children there, while adults also have access to showers, laundry facilities, email and additional workshops to help them get back on their feet.
Mathew Lingmann AuD ’15, another member of the group who is pursuing his doctorate in audiology, said he was drawn to that organization for the opportunity to interact with people.
“In some of the others, you would serve someone food but wouldn’t necessarily sit down and talk,” he said. “We got a lot of interpersonal time with the kids and adults.”
All the team members said they benefited from the opportunity to get to know students from other programs at Pacific — particularly Kylan Taylor SLP ‘14, who is in the new speech-language pathology program.
“Speech-language pathology is new to Pacific and to the health professions,” he said. “I feel there’s not much information out there about what we do, so I felt it was my job to sort of get our position out there.”
Everyone, though, said they’ll take their better understanding of each others’ roles into their professional careers.
“It gives me more resources to use in the future,” said Lam Le PA ‘14, who is working to become a physician assistant. “For me to understand what each profession does will benefit my patients.”