News and Commentary Macy Faculty Scholar Meg Zomorodi on Interprofessional Education

Meg Zomorodi, PhD, RN, CNL, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, discusses her new interprofessional education curriculum across six UNC schools.

What are you working on as a Macy Faculty Scholar and why is it important?
A lot of research today suggests that we need to expose students to their peers in other health professions early on before roles are established. That way, students will learn from the start not only what the other professions are, but how to work with them and learn from them.

This led me to meet with our deans from the Schools of Pharmacy, Medicine, Social Work, Nursing, Public Health and Nutrition, as well as our practice partners from the UNC Physician Network. The President and CEO for the UNC physician network, Dr. Robert Gianforcaro, was especially helpful. Through these meetings, an interprofessional clinical immersion experience was born where students from all disciplines will complete didactic learning focused on population health and then work in teams in a clinical immersion experience to address a quality improvement project. With my Macy award, I will drive these new programs and get them up and running.

How is this being implemented?

The curriculum is structured in three phases. In the first phase, teams of students (one from each school) will work together in our network of clinics on cases of great need, such as diabetes management. In the second phase, the student teams will implement interventions necessary to improving care. For the third phase, we will measure results and see if the quality of care improved.

This is truly a win-win for everyone. The students will learn how to communicate across professions and work together to improve care, and UNC’s physician network will benefit from provider training and see the direct results of these projects on their practice.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
It wouldn’t be possible to do a project of this magnitude without the funding that the Macy Foundation has provided. The fact that I’m a Macy Faculty Scholar also gave me the credibility to even walk into the room and get all of these deans to listen to me. Because they know someone else has invested in me, they are invested in me. My goal is to help the schools coordinate interprofessional experiences, and the Macy Foundation is helping me achieve this goal.

Even the support from my Scholar cohort is hugely beneficial. We are a family, and they truly want me to be successful. We are all helping each other work through our projects and the support of my Macy cohort and mentors is invaluable to me.

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