WCHHS faculty and student scholarship on display at 3rd annual symposium
Students and faculty from the Waldron College of Health and Human Services (WCHHS) gathered for its third Interprofessional Symposium and Expo (IPS&E) on April 12 in Heth Hall.
The daylong showcase of original research by the WCHHS faculty and students featured a Spotlight Presentation, titled “Five Years of Interprofessional Education,” by faculty members Rebecca Epperly, Renee Huth, Sheila Krajnik and Kerry Vandergrift. The presentation recapped the college’s efforts to provide students from the college’s six schools and departments with experiences to work side-by-side with colleagues of different disciplines on behalf of clients or patients.
“The aim of interprofessional education is to take the unique aspects of each discipline and use the best of it all to help the client achieve their health and well-being objectives,” said Sheila Krajnik, assistant professor of occupational therapy.
In the IPS&E keynote address, Interim Provost Joe Scartelli said, “This symposium sends a message that working in isolation is not the way to proceed. Your faculty clearly understand that reality. Questions and solutions rarely exist in a neatly fenced-off area. The more difficult the problems, the more collaboration is desired, if not required.”
The IPS&E lineup included 10 podium presentations and 60 poster presentations. All poster and podium presentation abstracts are available online at: http://ocs.radford.edu/.
Featured at the Expo, co-sponsored by the Radford University Career Center, were more than 30 organizations representing health care and community service organizations, many of whom host WCHHS students for externships, practicums or clinicals.
“We are grateful to these organizations who are important partners in the college’s effort to educate and provide experience for our students,” said Corey Cassidy, WCHHS associate dean.
The event also capped the college’s Diversity and Equity Committee’s year-long Character Campaign, a poster contest to engage the college’s various disciplines in defining themselves as part of the vital interprofessional dialogue. The entry by Team Occupational Therapy (TOT) was selected from 14 entries representing various WCHHS organizations, classes and groups and TOT was awarded a floating trophy and pizza party or ice cream social.
Emily Kingery, a graduate student in occupational therapy, was part of a team led by Assistant Professor Sarah Smidl that developed a pioneering program for prisoners at the Bland Correctional Center. Along with fellow OT students Sarra Cottle and Kristine Rider, Kingery presented about their Level-1 field experience working with soon-to-be-released prisoners.
“The fieldwork and presentations just solidified my desire to proceed into an area where people are interested but are often afraid and intimidated,” Kingery said. “There is a problem here and I have a chance to share and show that people can succeed and stereotypes be broken.”
Hyisheem Calier, a first-year student in the accelerated Masters of Social Work program, presented a poster about his research into factors and obstacles to success at institutions of higher education for African-American students.
Calier identified salient factors such as the “other” experience of being a minority, the feeling of a dual identity, a perception of the opportunities available to them, the perception of support from the institution and feelings of disloyalty to their race by attending a predominantly white institution.
“I got what I wanted - answers,” Calier said. “I hope this model for success can be used in the future.”
Amy Corbin, a third-year student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, was part of a four-person team that researched the effects of a home exercise program on the quality of life of persons with Parkinson’s Disease.
The group developed a home exercise video, got individuals suffering from Parkinson’s to use it and tested them and a non-exercising control group. Corbin said those who exercise with the video appeared to keep control of large muscle groups and function longer than individuals who don’t perform the exercises presented in the videos.
Corbin said his team saw also noted anecdotal evidence of improvements in the self-perception of those who exercised regularly. Reflecting on the role research plays in her discipline, she said, “To better the profession, you must look at data that already exists and find the holes. We have to pick up on these holes and do more research to see where it will go.”