TAG: "Medical education"

Students get boost for medical school plans


UC Merced, Georgia Regents University partner on undergrad physician training program.

UC Merced senior Julio Flores spent part of the summer conducting research at Georgia Regents University as part of the Undergraduate Physician Scientist and Research Training (UPSTaRT) program.

UC Merced senior Julio Flores spent part of the summer conducting research at Georgia Regents University as part of the Undergraduate Physician Scientist and Research Training (UPSTaRT) program.

First, UC Merced senior Julio Flores wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. Then, neurobiology called his name.

Now, after research experience in diabetes, he thinks that’s the field for him. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Flores just wants to help people.

“If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything,” he said.

Flores is one of four UC Merced students who spent this past summer interning at Georgia Regents University (GRU) as part of the Undergraduate Physician Scientist and Research Training (UPSTaRT) program. This opportunity to gain real-world skills was just one of many available to UC Merced’s talented undergraduates.

The joint program was funded for one year by both campuses to provide evidence of its value for a grant application to the National Institutes of Health, UC Merced professor Rudy Ortiz said. The grant wasn’t funded, though Ortiz is looking for external funding to keep UPSTaRT going.

The program provided UC Merced undergrads with an opportunity to conduct biomedical research at GRU during the summer and aims to increase the number of underrepresented and minority students who want to become physician-scientists.

After a weeklong bootcamp at UC Merced, the four students — Flores, Carly Stilphen, Beverly Li and Steven Duval Ruilova — headed to Georgia for research and workshops, and opportunities to develop their presenting skills and work in a hospital.

The students also interviewed with admissions officers for the medical school. Those sessions will serve as their interviews if they end up applying to GRU.

The program was a collaboration between Ortiz and Jennifer Pollock, professor of pharmacology and toxicology and director of the GRU M.D./Ph.D. program.

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UCSF first U.S. medical school to offer credit for Wikipedia articles


Course aims to teach students to increase reliability of medical information.

Amin Azzam will be teaching a UCSF course in which students will  contribute and edit medical information on Wikipedia.

Amin Azzam will be teaching a UCSF course in which students will contribute and edit medical information on Wikipedia.

UC San Francisco soon will be the first U.S. medical school at which medical students can earn academic credit for editing medical content on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is one of the most widely used medical references in the world and the most consulted source for many health topics. But medical entries can lack reliable sources and have gaps in content.

“Wikipedia generates more than 53 million page views just for articles about medications each month, and is second to Google as the most frequently used source by junior physicians,” said Amin Azzam, M.D., M.A., an associate clinical professor at the UCSF School of Medicine and an instructor for the new class. “We’re recognizing the impact Wikipedia can have to educate patients and health care providers across the globe, and want users to receive the most accurate publicly available, sound medical information possible.”

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UCLA medical school gets some ‘TLC’ as campus breaks ground on center


Teaching and Learning Center for Health Sciences expected to be completed in 2016.

(From left) UCLA Dr. Margaret Stuber, Chancellor Gene Block, Dr. Eugene Washington and medical student Caroline Gross at the groundbreaking of the Teaching and Learning Center for Health Sciences. (Photo by Ann Johannson, UCLA)

(From left) UCLA Dr. Margaret Stuber, Chancellor Gene Block, Dr. Eugene Washington and medical student Caroline Gross celebrate the groundbreaking of the Teaching and Learning Center for Health Sciences.

A crowd of 70 guests gathered Sept. 25 at the intersection of Tiverton and Le Conte avenues for a festive groundbreaking ceremony for UCLA’s new Teaching and Learning Center for Health Sciences, or TLC.

Expected to be completed in 2016, the six-level, 110,000-square-foot building will enable the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA to update its educational programs and improve teaching and learning. Campus leaders say the facility will serve as a magnet for recruiting medical students, staff and faculty.

Funding for the $120 million project will come from UCLA Health System reserves and philanthropic gifts. Plans call for environmentally friendly construction, and UCLA will apply for certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) national rating system.

“Today really marks a milestone for medical education,” said Chancellor Gene Block. “This dazzling facility will transform the learning experience for our students and help shape future leaders in medicine, medical research and medical education.”

Describing the building’s environment as a welcoming hub for students to gather, as well as a place to think, Dr. Eugene Washington, vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the Geffen School of Medicine, said, “This supportive setting will nurture big ideas that can change the way we teach and practice medicine.

“Our students are highly gifted and talented individuals who are deeply committed to medicine,” he said. “You are our inspiration and give us our energy and sense of urgency to complete this project.”

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Inside the first year of medical school


UCTV series looks at foundations for future health care providers.

Foundations for future health care providers on UCTVHave you ever wondered what it would be like to be a first-year medical student? Are you planning to pursure a career in health care but want to learn more first? Learn from the same faculty who teach the fundamental concepts of medicine to first-year medical students at UC San Francisco. Take an exciting and in-depth look at the core concepts of anatomy, physiology and pathology.

UCTV programs include:

Immunology 201: Application of the Basic Concepts to People
First air date: Oct. 1

Genes, Genomes and Human Disease, Part 2
First air date: Sept. 26

Genes, Genomes and Human Disease, Part 1
First air date: Sept. 24

Pharmacology: Bugs and Drugs, Part 2
First air date: Sept. 19

Pharmacology: Bugs and Drugs, Part 1
First air date: Sept. 16

Immunology 101: The Basics and Introduction to our Patient
First air date: Sept. 9

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UC Davis names new medical vice chancellor and dean


Julie Freischlag, surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, to start Feb. 10.

Julie Freischlag

Julie Freischlag

Julie Freischlag, currently the William Stewart Halsted professor and department director and surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, has been named the UC Davis vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi announced today (Sept. 17).

“When Dr. Freischlag became surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins, she became the first woman to hold this position. Throughout her career, she has served as a role model for her students, a respected colleague within the medical community, and a proven leader in advancing excellence and promoting health and wellness,” Katehi said. “As we grow our mission of national recognition in areas like food and health, she was our unquestioned vision of someone who would take us to new heights.”

Freischlag came to Johns Hopkins in 2003, after serving as the chief of the vascular surgery division and director of the Gonda (Goldschmied) Vascular Center at the David Geffen Medical School at UCLA — where she also completed her surgical residency and post-residency vascular fellowship.

She was a professor of surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she served as the vice chair of the vascular surgery section and chief of surgery at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. Her faculty appointments began at the UC San Diego School of Medicine in the Department of Surgery and progressed to UCLA, Wisconsin and Johns Hopkins.

Freischlag holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and her doctor of medicine degree from Rush University in Chicago. A member of many national and international surgery associations, she is the editor of Archives of Surgery/JAMA Surgery and currently serves on the editorial boards of Annals of Vascular Surgery, Journal of the American College of Surgeons and the British Journal of Surgery.

Freischlag has mentored numerous students, residents and young faculty; has been published in numerous journals; and is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from her professional training in the vascular diseases to women succeeding in the health professions. She has been recognized as an outstanding alumna by her alma maters, named a Baltimore Magazine “Top Doctor,” and selected in 2010 by Working Mother Magazine as one of the “10 most powerful moms in health care.”

She is a fellow, former governor and present chair of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons — the first woman to do so. She is the current president of the Society for Vascular Surgery — also the first woman to hold that position.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to accept the position of vice chancellor-Human Health Sciences and dean-School of Medicine at the UC Davis Health System,” Freischlag said. “I was so impressed with the people at UC Davis — clinicians, researchers, teachers, administrators, trainees and students — the energy was amazing, and I am excited to be able to become part of it. As many know, I was trained and also worked in the UC system, so it is delightful to come back.”

The UC Davis search for the vice chancellor and dean was led by Diana Farmer, chair of the UC Davis surgery department; Chancellor Katehi; and a team of representatives from the faculty, community and the health professions.

Thomas Nesbitt has been serving as the interim vice chancellor and dean since spring 2013 and, upon Freischlag’s arrival on Feb. 10, 2014, he will resume his position as associate vice chancellor for strategic technologies and alliances.

“I am most grateful for the calm and respected leadership that Dr. Nesbitt provided in this interim period,” Katehi said. “As we welcome our new vice chancellor and dean, he will ensure the continuity of excellence already found at UC Davis and help us grow toward the new future we anticipate under Dr. Freischlag’s guidance.”

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UC Merced San Joaquin Valley PRIME announces third class


UC’s sixth PRIME program now has 17 students enrolled, including newest cohort.

UC Merced San Joaquin Valley-PRIME combines the strengths and resources of UC Davis School of Medicine, UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program and UC Merced to train physicians interested in practicing in the San Joaquin Valley.

UC Merced San Joaquin Valley PRIME combines the strengths and resources of UC Davis School of Medicine, UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program and UC Merced to train physicians interested in practicing in the San Joaquin Valley.

Six students with close ties to the San Joaquin Valley are on track to becoming physicians as part of the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (PRIME). The group, which began their medical studies recently in Sacramento and represents the third cohort in the program, includes:

  • Andrew Davoodian, grew up in Turlock and a UC Berkeley graduate
  • Muninder Dhaliwal, born and raised in Turlock and a CSU Stanislaus graduate
  • Fernando Rios, raised in Winton and a Columbia University graduate
  • Miguel Ruvalcaba, raised in Fresno and a UC Merced graduate
  • Joseph Trujillo, from Merced, attended Merced College and graduated from UC Davis
  • Luisa Fernanda Valenzuela-Riveros, went to high school in Merced, attended Merced College and graduated from UC Davis

Prior to their first day of medical school, the students participated in a service-learning experience in the Valley where they joined senior PRIME medical students to work at a mobile clinic in Caruthers. At the clinic, they helped register patients, took vitals, checked blood sugar levels and served as interpreters while second- and third-year students examined patients. These new physicians-in-training experienced a full range of health care needs among residents, ranging from important health screenings and chronic disease management to abdominal pain, sore throats and mental health issues. The day encouraged the students to learn and work as a team with more skilled classmates as well as develop the skills needed to reinforce the program’s mission of caring for underserved communities.

UC Merced San Joaquin Valley-PRIME combines the strengths and resources of UC Davis School of Medicine, UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program and UC Merced to train physicians interested in practicing in the San Joaquin Valley. Students admitted to PRIME spend their first two years at the UC Davis campus in Sacramento. The groups’ third and fourth years are spent conducting clinical rotations at San Joaquin Valley clinics and hospitals.

The program represents a cost-effective and expedient way to ramp up medical expertise in the San Joaquin Valley by integrating it with health sciences research to address the unique health in the region.

UC Merced San Joaquin Valley-PRIME is the sixth and most recent addition to the University of California’s PRIME. UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC San Francisco also have Programs in Medical Education.

Overall, there are 17 students enrolled in UC Merced San Joaquin Valley-PRIME. Each of them has committed to caring for underserved communities in the region or beyond after completing medical school and their subsequent medical residency training.

The program’s inaugural group of medical students is now at UCSF Fresno, where their training includes an integrated six-month clinical course working with physicians in family and community medicine, internal medicine and psychiatry. The training opportunity — known as the Longitudinal Integrated Fresno Education (LIFE) curriculum — enables students to work directly with rural and underserved communities in the San Joaquin Valley.

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Future Physicians Leadership mentorship program to hold reception


Aug. 22 event to recognize program serving 1,000 Inland Empire residents this summer.

Members of the Coachella Valley branch of the Future Physician Leaders program completed their summer community health projects.

Members of the Coachella Valley branch of the Future Physician Leaders program completed their summer community health projects.

The Future Physician Leaders (FPL) mentorship program, a community-based collaborative that is nurturing the next generation of physician leaders, will recognize the work of nearly 150 students at its end-of-summer reception scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 22) at the UC Riverside Palm Desert Center, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Drive.

The event will be in the auditorium of Building B.

The event will recognize and celebrate the work and accomplishments of participating FPL students, and is one of the biannual networking events designed to mentor students. The evening will begin with a poster board display session where students from the Coachella Valley and Riverside/San Bernardino programs will present the results of their FPL Community Health Projects.

Established in 2009 by Congressman Raul Ruiz, a Coachella Valley emergency physician, FPL is helping address the healthcare access crisis in Inland Southern California by supporting the aspirations of young people to build a career in medicine serving critical community needs.

Speakers at the Thursday evening event will be Congressman Ruiz; G. Richard Olds, dean of the UCR School of Medicine; Neal L. Schiller, senior associate dean for student affairs in the UCR medical school; and four student speakers.

Founded in the Coachella Valley five years ago with nine students, the program has now expanded to include a Riverside/San Bernardino site, and includes nearly 150 active high school and undergraduate pre-med students, more than 70 physician mentors and 10 health care institution partners. The program consists of a leadership lecture series and community service through community health projects. Forty students participated in a summer physician shadowing rotation.

Students spent seven weeks this summer working in teams to develop, implement and evaluate their own community health projects. Eighteen projects were developed between the Coachella Valley and Riverside/San Bernardino areas. Among the community health projects topics were: diabetes awareness and prevention for children, sun protection knowledge of Coachella Valley residents, health care resources to Mountain View Estates residents, stimulating children’s physical and cognitive development, oral hygiene and hand washing awareness,  health resource manual for the uninsured, medical indigent and undocumented, and Alzheimer’s disease awareness and caregiver support.

The Future Physician Leaders Program is supported by Kaiser Permanente Southern California, the Desert Healthcare District, the California Office of Statewide Planning and Development and the UCR School of Medicine.

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Physician honored for innovative engineering, medicine training program


UC Davis’ Nicholas Kenyon recognized by AAMC.

Christina Davis and Nicholas Kenyon, UC Davis

Cristina Davis and Nicholas Kenyon, UC Davis

Nicholas Kenyon, a pulmonary and critical care physician at UC Davis Medical Center, has been recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for building a collaborative training program with the UC Davis College of Engineering known as Capstone Senior Design Course. The program fosters collaboration among medical and engineering students in the development of new devices to advance health. Kenyon created the program with colleague Cristina Davis, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Other key instructors include professors Angelique Louie and Tony Passerini in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Kenyon was named a finalist for the AAMC Award for Innovative Institutional Partnerships in Research and Research-Focused Training. The award, which recognizes creative, collaborative partnerships, will be presented at the AAMC Graduate Research, Education and Training Group’s annual professional development meeting on Sept. 20 in Atlanta. The UC Davis School of Medicine will receive a $1,000 cash prize for its role in the award-winning submission.

Under the supervision of Davis and Kenyon, the Capstone Senior Design Course has developed strong interdisciplinary ties between the UC Davis College of Engineering, Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) and School of Medicine. Conceived in 2008 as a means of removing barriers between medicine and other disciplines, the program has encouraged clinicians and engineers to collaborate on medical engineering projects that are selected based on their high likelihood of success. Student teams, mentored by engineering and medicine faculty, prototype instruments or systems from design to fabrication and testing.

Since its inception, the program has involved 40 faculty mentors, more than 100 students and 25 projects. Successful projects include an intensive care unit (ICU) patient self-hydration unit, a mechanical walker for critically ill ICU patients, an endoscopic balloon drug delivery device, a low-cost pediatric treadmill for home use by disabled children and many other ingeniously designed prototypes.

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White coat ceremony launches UC Riverside School of Medicine


Inaugural class of 50 students begins a pioneering journey.

An admiring crowd of 700 people cheered on the inaugural class of 50 students in UC Riverside’s School of Medicine on Friday (Aug. 9). Each student slipped into the doctor’s white coat, held by a faculty member, to mark the beginning of four years of hard work.

The live string quartet, floral arrangements, beautiful programs and colorful lights are not typical for UCR’s Student Recreation Center — the home court of UCR basketball — but the campus needed its biggest room to fit the students, the families, the faculty and all the community supporters of this new kind of medical school, designed to increase the supply of primary care doctors practicing in the Inland Empire.

Laura Wilson is congratulated by a fellow student after receiving her white coat. (Photo by Carrie Rosema)

Laura Wilson is congratulated by a fellow student after receiving her white coat.

“I’ve been telling the students this is a once in a lifetime event, like the sighting of Haley’s comet, said Kendrick A. Davis, director of medical education for the UCR School of Medicine. “It is rare that you are in the right spot and you can take advantage of it. It is beyond a milestone. You are talking about embarking on something that hasn’t really been done, the way that we are doing it,” he said. “Every person involved in this is a pioneer, so you have to be excited about it, and be willing to put in all the work to make this successful.”

The mission of the UCR School of Medicine is to improve the health of the Inland Empire by producing culturally diverse primary care doctors who will stay and practice medicine in the area, which has a chronic shortage of doctors. UCR has had the first part of a medical school program for more than 30 years, but the students always finished their work at other medical schools, including UCLA. Now medical school students can stay to finish their M.D. UCR is also developing residency training programs in partnership with regional hospitals.

The effort to establish the school took a concerted community effort over many years, capped off recently with a state budget deal that included $15 million in annual funding, thanks to the successful advocacy of the Inland Empire Caucus, the Monday Morning Group and Inland Action. This is UC’s sixth medical school and California’s first new public medical school in four decades.

“We are at the end of a long relay,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, the founding dean of the School of Medicine. “Each time we had a roadblock, our community doubled down on their effort. I want to thank everyone for that effort.”

Five people earned honorary white coats for the heavy lifting in the last stretch of a 10-year long relay race:  State Sen. Richard Roth; Assemblymember Jose Medina; interim Chancellor Jane Close Conoley; and two leaders from the University of California Office of the President, Dan Dooley and Patrick Lenz.

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Waters Corp. sponsors new clinical fellowship at UC San Diego


Med school program will emphasize training in classical clinical chemistry, specialty areas.

Nandkishor Chindarkar (left) and Robert Fitzgerald

Nandkishor Chindarkar (left) and Robert Fitzgerald

Waters Corp. announced today (July 29) its sponsorship of a new, two-year, postdoctoral Clinical Chemistry Fellowship at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Fellows will be trained in classical clinical chemistry, laboratory administration and research practices to prepare them for directorship positions at medical schools or hospital-based clinical chemistry laboratories.

“Our mission is to develop the next generation of leaders in clinical chemistry,” said Robert Fitzgerald, Ph.D., DABCC, UC San Diego School of Medicine professor of pathology and faculty coordinator of the new Clinical Chemistry Fellowship program.

Waters Corp. — a company that specializes in sustainable analytic technologies to advance health care and environmental safety — will provide funding to cover salary and research expenses for fellows as they gain a strong foundation of classical chemistry (e.g., blood gases, electrolytes, enzymes, proteins, endocrinology, therapeutic drug monitoring), clinical toxicology and molecular diagnostics. Fellows will collaborate with the California Poison Control Center and the UC San Diego Medical Toxicology Fellowship program with a focus on toxicology. The ultimate goal is to prepare fellows to qualify for certification by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry.

“Funding this exciting new clinical chemistry fellowship is consistent with Waters’ commitment to education in laboratory medicine,” said Donald Mason, global scientific affairs manager for Waters Corp. “UC San Diego’s commitment to emerging technologies, including mass spectrometry, is representative of the forward-thinking nature of this program. We are very pleased to be able to provide funding for this program.”

Clinical chemists are essential for providing optimal cardiac care, cancer testing, diabetes management, therapeutic drug monitoring and toxicology testing. These scientists also help develop novel testing strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of pathologic conditions. The UC San Diego School of Medicine recently opened the Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM), a 90,000 square foot building which houses the Pathology’s Division of Laboratory Medicine. The facility features state-of-the-art technologies used in diagnostic medicine and pathology to support patient care and inquiry into emerging fields such as personalized medicine, genomics, clinical proteomics and cell therapy.

The program’s first Clinical Chemistry Fellow, Nandkishor Chindarkar, Ph.D., recently began the two-year fellowship. His goal is to pursue a career in an academic clinical laboratory where he can contribute to patient care, medical education and clinical research.

“I am very excited to be the first Clinical Chemistry Fellow. This program will help me immensely to become a well-trained chemist and will enable me to contribute to the advancement of clinical laboratory science,” said Chindarkar. “We have great facilities here at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Being an analytical chemist, I am particularly excited about the advanced mass spectrometry facility that we have at CALM.”

Currently, the UC San Diego School of Medicine Department of Pathology is in the process of enrolling a second fellow. The program seeks candidates that have an M.D., Pharm.D., and/or a Ph.D. degree with sufficient courses in chemistry to qualify for certification by the American Board for Clinical Chemistry. For more information, please visit the UC San Diego School of Medicine Department of Pathology website.

“We are grateful for Waters’ generous funding which will allow for the development of laboratory directors with experience in highly complex clinical laboratories” said Fitzgerald.

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Obituary: David Solomon, UCLA leader in geriatrics and medicine


Hailed as a legendary figure, he was 90.

David Solomon

David Solomon

Dr. David H. Solomon, who led a major expansion of the UCLA Department of Medicine, created the campus’s geriatrics program to deal effectively with the unique health care needs of the elderly, and was the first board-certified endocrinologist in Los Angeles, died July 9 at his home in Thousand Oaks. He was 90.

Solomon received many awards from various medical societies in recognition of his contributions and was the author of 220 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, four books, 49 book chapters and 32 editorials, letters and popular articles.

“Dr. Solomon is a legendary figure at UCLA and nationally in internal medicine, endocrinology and geriatrics,” said Dr. David Reuben, chief of the geriatrics division at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “His legacy will live on.”

Solomon was born March 7, 1923, and raised in Brookline, Mass. He graduated from Brown University in 1944 and entered Harvard Medical School that year. By taking courses year-round, he was able to complete medical school in two years, graduating magna cum laude in 1946. After graduation, Solomon married his wife, Ronda Markson. He completed his internship and residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and fulfilled his two-year military commitment in the U.S. Public Health Service at the Gerontology Research Center in Baltimore.

Solomon was recruited to the new UCLA School of Medicine in 1952. He became the first board-certified endocrinologist in Los Angeles and led the development of the division of endocrinology in the new department of medicine at UCLA. In 1966, he was named chief of medicine at Harbor General Hospital, where he expanded UCLA’s training program. He returned to UCLA’s main campus in 1971 as executive chair of the department of medicine, holding that position until 1981.

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The benefits of interprofessional education


UCLA nursing school dean points to better communication.

Courtney Lyder, UCLA

Courtney Lyder, UCLA

By Courtney Lyder

Courtney Lyder is dean of the UCLA School of Nursing, professor of medicine and public health and executive director of the UCLA Health System Patient Safety Institute and assistant director of the UCLA Health System. This column originally appeared on the website Hospital Impact, a blog by and for hospital executives, physicians and other health care thought leaders.

In a recent editorial in The New York Times, Theresa Brown wrote about how clinical hierarchies and the impact of conflict between nurses and physicians can be deadly for a patient. She said, “when doctors and nurses don’t get along, it’s the patient who suffers.”

A lot of studies show that poor communication is linked to adverse patient outcomes. For example, of the 1,243 sentinel events reported to the Joint Commission in 2011, communication problems were identified in 60 percent.

By its very nature, health care is complicated; it is a rapidly changing environment and unpredictable. Professionals from a variety of disciplines can care for a patient during a 24-hour period, which can limit the opportunities for face-to-face communication.

Physicians and nurses are expected to work together, not only practicing side by side, but interacting to achieve a common goal: the health and well-being of the patient. But there are several factors that can make effective communication between nurses and physicians particularly difficult to achieve, including historic tension; conflicting viewpoints based on education, training, communication style; and terminology and existing communication processes that are inefficient at best.

With the focus of health care moving increasingly to the team approach, it becomes even more critical for physicians and nurses to work in collaboration. Higher education institutions including UCLA and the University of Virginia, for example, are working to improve how nurses and physicians work together before they enter the clinical environment.

In the fall of 2008, the UCLA School of Nursing and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, introduced a pilot program to integrate nursing students (in this case advanced practice students) and third-year medical students. The result was an innovative program that focused on content, such as communication with patients, ethics, behavioral medicine and other psychosocial issues. The idea was to get the two groups working together sooner rather than later so students from both schools could develop team-building skills, increase their awareness of each other’s roles and get used to working together in making decisions to improve patient outcomes.

Our initial results indicated the students found the experience to be of great value. In addition to assisting students with their clinical decision-making skills, the discussions that took place during the course provided an excellent forum in which the nursing and medical students gained a better mutual understanding.

I believe collaborations like this represent the future of medical and nursing education. No two groups of health professionals are more interrelated in practice, and by starting here, we allow them to understand each other and to grow up together as students.

We are now taking the next step by creating assessment tools to evaluate interprofessional competencies not only in the classroom but in clinical practice settings as well. Tools such as an iPad app will allow instruction leaders to assess actual collaborative practices through observations and walk-throughs in clinical settings. Our ultimate goal is to disseminate the tools to a wider community.

Patient safety needs to be our top priority. Successful delivery of health care needs to be interdependent, and respect must be shown for the education and knowledge of each team member. Interprofessional education is an excellent start.

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