Waldron Symposium Emphasizes Health-care Collaboration

Natalie's mother was addicted to drugs during her pregnancy. Because of the addiction and a premature birth, Natalie has major physical problems. The majority of the burden for her care has fallen to father and grandmother. They need guidance and education from health-care professionals in virtually every field.

Natalie is a hypothetical subject whose case was among topics for the second annual interdisciplinary symposium for Radford University's Waldron College of Health and Human Services. Twenty Waldron faculty members met Friday with more than 130 students to help them understand the benefits of collaboration among health-care professionals in situations like Natalie's.

Instructor Rebecca Epperly, a speech-language pathologist, gave an overview of the symposium process and set out the learning objectives. Break-out sessions with faculty moderators followed through the morning and early afternoon with students and professors from social work, communication sciences and disorders, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy discussing treatment options for individual disciplines and interdisciplinary work.

Each student was given a hypothetical case study, including an in-depth medical history, to review in advance of the symposium. Spirited discussions within groups focused on individualized nutrition and therapy needs to socioeconomic concerns, including education, environmental issues within the home, and emotional needs of the caretakers as well as the patients.

"The interdisciplinary symposium is important because it helps to prepare students for practice with other professions. Once they graduate, most of them will be practicing in teams, not in isolation," Waldron College Dean and Professor Ken Cox said. "This experience gives them the opportunity to learn more about the other programs in our college and how those professionals can work together to provide the best care for patients and clients. Finally, the symposium allows for collaboration among the faculty and students within our college."

Members of the symposium planning committee were Sheila Krajnik, occupational therapy; Kate Brennan, nursing; Kerry Vandergrift and Deneen Evans, social work; Renee Huth and Emmanuel John, physical therapy; and Epperly, communication sciences and disorders.

Associate Professor Sharon Gilbert of the RU School of Teacher Education and Leadership presented an overview of the special education process for children under 5 years old.

Nov 13, 2012
Bonnie Q. Erickson
(540) 831-5804