A Co-Curricular Case Competition to Explore Interprofessional Solutions Addressing Local Health Disparities
Organized by faculty and staff members of Linking Interprofessional Networks for Collaboration (LINC), UT Health San Antonio’s Quality Enhancement Plan to advance interprofessional education, interprofessional teams of first- and second-year professional and graduate students were invited to participate in the second annual LINC Interprofessional Case Competition during the spring 2022 semester. This competition afforded student teams an opportunity to augment their professional development, earn prize money, and garner university-wide recognition via an experiential, co-curricular IPE activity.
Participating teams were challenged to develop interprofessional solutions capable of addressing documented health inequities and/or disparities within a single zip code in Bexar County, Texas, which is home to UT Health San Antonio. Teams were required to submit a 5-page written proposal during phase I, which was scored by a panel of judges to determine invitations to phase II, which involved submission of video-recorded presentations and live Q&A scored by the same judges. The combination of phase I and II scores determined rank order of finalist teams. Student evaluations that included Likert-type items and open-ended questions were administered for program evaluation purposes.
Fourteen teams entered the competition and six submitted written proposals during phase I, all of which were invited to phase II. Twenty-three students representing all 5 schools at UT Health San Antonio and 8 different educational programs completed evaluations: Long School of Medicine (MD [n=6]), Schools of Dentistry (DDS [n=6]), Health Professions (MLS [n=1], OT [n=1], PA [n=3], RC [n=1]), and Nursing (BSN [n=2]), and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (PhD [n=3]). Most participants were female (83%). The majority of participants strongly agreed that the competition provided meaningful opportunities to develop Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) competencies, and 87% reported that the monetary prize was an effective motivating factor. Thematic analysis of open-ended comments highlighted the value students placed on meeting colleagues from other professions and working in interprofessional teams to address a locally relevant problem related to health inequities/disparities.
The 2022 LINC Interprofessional Case Competition established this IPE activity as a sustainable co-curricular offering at UT Health San Antonio to augment students’ professional development, advance IPEC competency attainment, and expand students’ horizons related to social determinants of health. Future efforts will include broad promotional campaigns to increase participation, with a goal of tripling the number of teams who complete the competition in 2023, as well as target marketing to increase participation from groups that have been under-represented the last two years.