Matt Schorr
December 11, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance’s (MVA) Interprofessional Education (IPE) pillar is changing.

Since it began in 1999, one of the MVA’s primary goals was to create innovative means for interprofessional and educational collaboration between academia and the community. Likewise, its mission is to make a lasting, positive impact.

With that in mind, the IPE faculty believed it was time to restructure future sessions to incorporate new ideas, new strategies and new approaches.


Escape experience

“The IPE faculty decided to utilize an escape experience as a team building exercise,” MVA Program Manager Jessica Jones, MS explained. “We decided it was in our best interests to develop our own so we could share it with other institutions.”

Previously, students attended four sessions designed to orient them with the IPE Student Project and each other. They participated in personality tests and group activities that determined their psychological preferences and which teams were best suited for them.

The escape experience, according to Jones, will combine those efforts and assess each student’s interprofessional competencies.


The same

“The end product remains the same,” Jones said.

Students in the healthcare field will continue working with non-profit organizations to improve their communities. With those non-profit organizations as their guides, they will create and implement plans of action to address real, community-defined needs.

“We’ll work with community partners to create deliverables that are beneficial to them, and an experience that is beneficial to each student,” Jones said.

Only the process is changing.

The Student Project is currently on hold while IPE faculty designs the escape experience. It will resume of Fall 2020.


Looking ahead

So what does this mean for faculty and students?

“For faculty, it means that the time investment isn’t just bound to the IPE Student Project,” Jones said. “They can use the escape game at their home institutions to enhance team communication and teamwork.”

“For students,” she added, “it brings team building to life through an exercise where they can learn about communication and teamwork.”

Ultimately, the hope is for students to be better able to communicate with patients, families, health team members and community members.

“We want to make sure we’re engaging with students,” Jones noted. “Learning can be fun,  but this is a non-threatening way to learn your own style and grow and challenge yourself.”


About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

Founded in 1999, the Alliance bridges the institutions of Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Its mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research in three primary areas -- community engagement, interprofessional education and research -- by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the communities they serve. Through community engagement, the Alliance serves a large community of stakeholders including surrounding universities and colleges, community organizations, faith-based outlets and community health centers. Its interprofessional education enhances students' interdisciplinary understanding and improves patient outcomes through integrated care. The research conducted provides access to experienced grant writers and materials supporting the grant application process and facilitates grant-writing workshops.