Across the Foundation’s priority areas, our grantees are working to improve the health of the public through innovative research and programs. The Foundation awards up to 40 grants on a rotating schedule each year.
New Integrated Interprofessional Curriculum Model
Primary Care Workforce Shortages
We are currently experiencing serious shortages of primary care providers, a trend that is expected to worsen over the next several decades, especially in light of the passing of the new healthcare reform bill that will require even more providers to deliver healthcare services to millions of newly insured individuals. Predictions of workforce shortages in rural and medically underserved areas are particularly daunting. Currently, more than 65 million Americans live in primary care health professions shortage areas. Arizona ranks 39th in the U.S. in its primary care physician to population ratio. Arizona, like the rest of the US, have been limited in our ability to expand the pipeline to primary care practice due to well-recognized issues including disparities in payment of primary care providers compared to specialists and perceptions of lifestyle demands and geographic limitations of rural practice. The commitment and cost for promising applicants is significant. Entry into primary care practice currently requires 7 to 8 years of full time study in nursing, pharmacy, and medicine. One of the goals for this planning grant is to design an alternative curriculum to accelerate degree completion and reduce the economic burden on our students.
Insufficient Interprofessional Preparation
At the same time, few academic programs provide sufficient preparation to assist students to master the unique demands of primary care practice for rural and underserved populations. Teamwork, collaborative decision-making, evidence-based practice – all important competencies to achieve high quality and safe outcomes in every healthcare setting – are pivotal to success for rural practice. Yet, health professions students continue to have minimal contact with each other due to seemingly insurmountable conflicts in time, schedules, accreditation, and credentialing requirements. Even the most progressive programs are able to bring together students only a few times during their four or more years of education and often base matching of students on scheduling demands rather than comparable learning needs. It is time to address and overcome the obstacles to meaningful and ongoing interprofessional experiences. Advanced technology will play an important part in the solution as well as resolve and innovation in realigning schedules and addressing accreditation and credentialing guidelines.
Goals and aims
The Arizona State University (ASU) College of Nursing and Health Innovation, the University of Arizona (UA) College of Medicine- Phoenix in partnership with ASU, the UA College of Pharmacy - Phoenix, and the Arizona Telemedicine Program’s Institute for Advanced Telemedicine and Telehealth propose to collaborate on a two-year planning grant to develop a new innovative integrated interprofessional curriculum to prepare physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists, with an emphasis on primary care practice in rural and underserved areas. The focus will be designing this new curriculum for three professional degree programs (MD, DNP, and PharmD).
Their specific aims are to:
- Identify common content and competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) across the three professions as a foundation for shared courses and planned and regular intersections in classroom and clinical experiences throughout the graduate course of study in each profession.
- Identify content and competencies to include in our current curriculum that members of the interprofessional planning committee and key stakeholders believe are vital to the future of effective interprofessional practice for delivering primary care services in rural and underserved areas.
- Develop syllabi and course materials for a set of interprofessional courses and clinical experiences that include planned and regular integration of content and interaction among students within the three graduate programs.
- Prepare planning briefs that (a) identify lessons learned in developing fully integrated interprofessional graduate-level professional curricula; (b) anticipate key issues and obstacles in implementing these curricula; and (c) recommend strategies for increasing the amount of planned integration in current curricula.