A team of students from the University of Missouri Health System has won first place in the CLARION National Interprofessional Team Case Competition, a health care quality improvement program. The students received a $7,500 team scholarship for their winning presentation on April 17.
The CLARION program has been a national competition held by the University of Minnesota since 2005. Each year, teams of health sciences students from universities throughout the United States are invited to compete. The teams are given the same case study and instructed to analyze the case and create a presentation with quality improvement recommendations. Teams then present their findings to a panel of judges.
“Receiving this award is a prestigious honor for our students and a testament to their dedication, teamwork and knowledge,” said Myra Aud, PhD, an associate professor at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and one of the team’s faculty advisers. “This award also is a testament to their education. MU is the only university to have won the CLARION competition four times. Our schools of health professions, medicine and nursing are very serious about interprofessional education, and we are very serious about teaching quality improvement methods. This award demonstrates that we are building a dedication to quality and interdisciplinary care into our students.”
To qualify for the competition, a team must include students from at least two different health care disciplines, such as medicine, nursing, public health and other professions. MU’s team included members from four disciplines in the university’s public health program, School of Medicine and Sinclair School of Nursing. MU’s four team members included:
- Sabrina Abramovitz, a graduate student in MU’s public health program
- Scott Bartkoski, a fourth-year medical student at the MU School of Medicine
- Kaci Dannatt, a graduate student in the MU School of Medicine’s health care administration program
- Terri Stone, a graduate student at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing
This year, teams from nine competing universities examined the hypothetical case of a hospital looking to improve care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung condition. The team members met weekly from January to April to examine the case and applied quality improvement tools they learned during their health care educations.
“One of the strengths of our team is our wide breadth of expertise, with four members from four different professions,” said Stone, who also serves as a nurse practitioner at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. “We each brought different perspectives and different skills to the case. As a nurse, I know that’s how health care truly works — with nurses, physicians, social workers and other professionals all working together to care for a patient.”
MU has built interprofessional training into the education of health professionals. For example, medical, nursing and other health professions students work with live patient actors in the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center to replicate patient care and tackle quality improvement tasks.
Research has shown problem-solving education techniques to be successful. A 10-year study of the MU School of Medicine’s problem-based learning curriculum, published in the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, showed that MU medical students significantly outscore a majority of their peers on licensing exams and residency director reviews.
“These are quality improvement and interdisciplinary communication skills that students will bring with them into their careers as health care professionals, and they’ll be able to share what they’ve learned to improve patient care,” said Amanda Allmon, MD, assistant professor of family and community medicine at the MU School of Medicine and a faculty adviser for the team.
In addition to Aud and Allmon, the team’s faculty advisers included Kristofer Hagglund, PhD, associate dean of the School of Health Professions and director of MU’s public health program, and Suzanne Boren, PhD, associate professor of health management and informatics at the School of Medicine.