Josiah Macy, JR. Foundation Grant to Enhance Physician and Nursing Education With Student-Run Free Clinic and More at Case Western Reserve

CLEVELAND - Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine and Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing have received a $640,000 grant from the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation to fund the new Interprofessional Learning Exchange and Development (I-LEAD) Program. The project will involve several experience-based components to improve communication and collaboration among nurses and physicians in the interest of public health and to reflect changes in the healthcare system. "This grant works toward changing the culture of health care. In addition to providing services, student doctors and nurses will experience how people think and function in their different roles as health professionals and learn to work as a team," said Daniel Ornt, MD, FACP, vice dean for education and academic affairs at the School of Medicine. Ornt and Patricia Underwood, PhD, RN, FAAN, executive associate dean for academic affairs at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, will lead the project over the next four years. The Weatherhead School of Management also will participate by analyzing team and organization dynamics. Underwood said educating nurses and physicians to work as teams from the beginning and throughout their education will eventually change how healthcare is delivered and enhance the quality of care. This grant builds on funding the university received in 2009 from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement/Macy Foundation initiative to strengthen medical and nursing education. The nursing and medical students have already started to build communication skills to improve safety and quality of care through a simulated patient exercise and seminars. Major leaders in healthcare, such as the World Health Organization, National League for Nursing and the Carnegie Foundation, have issued calls to strengthen interprofessional collaborations as one component in transforming the health system. "It is insufficient to teach about interprofessional practice," said Underwood. "It has to be experienced in the context of what they will eventually practice." The grant enhances the curricula at the two schools by finding opportunities to incorporate exchanges between medical and nursing students. The ultimate goal of the Foundation and Case Western Reserve is to develop interprofessional curriculum models that can be shared with other schools across the country. The university's affiliate hospitals have already begun to work towards this cultural change, Ornt said. "Everyone, patients and their families, will benefit from this cultural change," Underwood said. I-LEAD curriculum consists of five components that provide some real-life experiences within the different school curricula: • Small group experiences bring nursing and medical students together. • Simulated patient situations and other learning activities of 2 to 4 hours focus on communication skills to enhance patient safety and outcomes. • A community laboratory in a Cleveland neighborhood or school will address health promotion and disease prevention issues that particularly pertain to middle school youth. • An inpatient laboratory in a healthcare setting will bring the student professionals together in a real-life general medical unit at a hospital. • The student-run free clinic laboratory—one of only a few in the country run by students associated with a medical school—will serve as the capstone experience for the program.

Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation's top medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching. The School's innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership, and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century. Nine Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the School of Medicine.

Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 800 MD and MD/PhD students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News & World Report's "Guide to Graduate Education."

The School of Medicine is affiliated with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002.