Lightning Talk

Engaging Community Experts for an Interprofessional COVID19 Exercise

Wednesday, September 14, 2022, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CDT
online learning

This Lightning Talk describes how in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 14th annual Pandemic Interprofessional Education (IPE) exercise was refocused from an in-person session about an imaginary statewide influenza pandemic; to an online synchronous platform, with students learning from each other and experts about the necessity of interprofessional collaboration. The talk will address the conference theme of Person, Family, and Community-Engaged Practice and Education, as this exercise focused on the importance of health professionals engaging with the community in response to a public health emergency.

The objectives of the exercise are to a) engage an interprofessional panel of COVID-19 experts, b) identify the responsibilities of diverse professionals in a public health emergency, and c) address teamwork challenges in a system-wide response to COVID-19. The original Pandemic Flu IPE included students from the UArizona Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and Pharmacy. In 2020, students from 11 professions participated in the exercise. Panelists represented clinicians, epidemiologists, politicians, a member from the University Incident Command Center, an emergency medicine pharmacist, and the Director of the County Health Department. Students engaged with the panelists and participated in small group discussions surrounding the following topics: all-hazards preparedness, work environment, roles and responsibilities of diverse professionals, COVID-19 testing, public policy, and the importance of coordination and teamwork.

In 2020, 508 students completed the post-exercise survey (88% response rate). In 2021, 625 completed the post-exercise survey (95% response rate). The small group discussions influenced student opinions about prioritizing patients for treatments and reporting to work more than self-isolation and quarantine. Students’ understanding of the roles other professions play in a disease pandemic increased. Overall, the students rated the exercise positively.