Physical therapist students practice in a global community. It is imperative they understand the inter-relationships of the various health care professions and how those professions work together to address complex global issues. Regis University developed an Global Health Pathway (GHP) that is a curricular thread throughout the physical therapy (PT), pharmacy, nursing, and counseling curricula. The Regis University GHP seeks to expand a student’s understanding of managing health issues facing global populations through a variety of linked interprofessional, experiential learning experiences and didactic curricula. The goal is to deepen knowledge of students on GH issues, encourage interprofessional problem solving, teach advocacy skills and provide leadership training in addressing factors that impact global health (GH) disparities.
The GHP was developed over a 3-year period through a consensus model of stakeholders from various health care disciplines. Faculty from each program formed an interprofessional committee, which identified overall direction of the GHP, GH competencies, assessment options, community partnerships, and recruitment. The larger committee then divided into subgroups and met monthly to report progress and coordinate efforts.
Extensive literature reviews informed the development of the GH competencies. Each program discipline then identified learning experiences throughout their curricula, GH service learning, and interprofessional domestic and international experiences to meet the competency domains. A method of student self-reflection, and peer and advisor input was created to assess the completion of each domain. All learning experiences were designed to promote leadership skills to advocate for GH awareness and change.
The Pathway involves an application process for acceptance and requirements for successful completion of the Pathway including: minimal competencies, interprofessional courses on GH and ethics, service learning, a domestic and international GH experience, and a capstone presentation. The competencies provide a means for assessing student progress through the GHP. They are divided into three domains: 1. Globalization of Health and Healthcare; 2. Healthcare Equity and Social Justice; 3. Ethics and Professional Practice. Details of each domain, DPT curriculum and assessment will be shared. Students meet with each other and advisors at least once a semester. Currently 17 PT, pharmacy, and counseling students are in the GHP. Nursing students begin in 2018.
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education
The development of an interprofessional GHP has been a very beneficial process. In addition to producing a viable, sought after GH focus for students, it has fostered interprofessional faculty relationships, created efficiencies in the GH curriculum and experiences among disciplines, and created a greater awareness of GH and GH curriculum needs. Using this GHP as a guide others can modify and implement similar curricular threads in their curricula.
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