Waldron College of Health and Human Services hosts 7th annual Interprofessional Symposium & Expo
For the first time in three years, Waldron College of Health and Human Services students and faculty gathered in person to present research and share ideas at the Interprofessional Symposium and Expo, held in Heth Hall on April 14, 2022.
The seventh annual daylong celebration of original research from the college presented an opportunity for those involved to share research via poster and podium presentations well as roundtable exercises. It was the first in-person version of the event since 2019 due to the COVID pandemic.
The day began with a welcome from Kenneth M. Cox, Au.D., dean of the college. He said that the event's objective was to develop relationships among the faculty and students in all of the college’s programs in the areas of research, scholarship and service.
“We are excited to showcase the exceptional research and scholarly work of our faculty and students, as well as the service opportunities in which they engage every day, and highlight our university and community partnerships,” Cox said. “It is our hope that today’s event will continue to showcase and promote interprofessional scholarship and service in our college, across the university and throughout the community.”
The keynote address was presented by Corey Cassidy, Ph.D., executive director of the Radford University Academic Success Center. Cassidy, who organized the event from 2014 to 2019, focused her remarks on her history with the university and on the six types of working genius, a professional assessment tool that has helped members of her team discover their specific roles in their collective workflow and success.
Cassidy said that the symposium and expo has grown significantly over the years to include a number of programs throughout Waldron College and an expanding range of study areas from students and faculty.
“It started off small with the intention of sharing our work across disciplines,” Cassidy said. “We wanted to help people think about how they could collaborate and build on the research we were already doing.”
Cassidy said that a great example of how this collaboration has happened due to the event was when a nursing faculty member presented about the international service he was doing. Faculty members from occupational therapy and speech-language pathology responded that they were interested in participating and joined the nursing faculty member the next year for a medical mission trip to Belize.
“Over time, they began bringing their students on the trips, completed an independent study and created assessments and tools for teachers there,” Cassidy said. “It all started with a nurse and her presentation at the symposium, turning into a multidiscipline collaboration that helped many people.”
Following the keynote address, a roundtable was hosted by the School of Nursing’s Marjorie Young, D.N.P., associate professor and interim DNP-NP program coordinator; Carey Cole, D.N.P., assistant professor; and Eunyoung Lee, Ph.D., associate professor, entitled, “Peer Patient Roundtable: An innovative approach for evaluating clinical performance of NP students.” In addition, students and faculty presented their research via poster presentations. Seventeen posters were presented during the morning session.
Ariana Martinez, a Master of Social Work student who will graduate in May, presented her research on understanding and addressing intimate partner violence (IPV) in rural Virginia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Martinez said that she completed the research as part of her program’s comprehensive exam and that the symposium and expo allowed her to share her research with those who may not be aware of how a pandemic can increase IPV incidents.
“It’s important that events like this can help spread awareness,” Martinez said. “IPV and mental health, in general, are not discussed as much as they should be, especially in relation to COVID. This gives me the chance to share what I’ve learned with others.”
Michael Hall, a student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program who also expects to graduate in May, presented his poster on the effects of head-mounted virtual reality (VR) on trunk activation in healthy adults.
“We found that the core muscles of those participating were active while they used the VR headsets,” Hall said. “This has implications for those with spinal cord injuries. They are weaving and bobbing and getting lots of exercise, which can be helpful in recovery.”
Hall said that the benefit of presenting his research at the Waldron event is twofold: it helps explain to people exactly what physical therapy is and shows how VR can aid in therapeutic treatments.
Master of Social Work student Kayla Meade said that she started the research for her poster on increasing preparedness and understanding of mental health amongst law enforcement in rural and suburban communities as an undergrad, continuing it into her graduate studies.
“My work focuses on how we can have mental health professionals and social workers alongside law enforcement officers to aid in the work that they do,” Meade said. “I think being able to share what I’ve been researching at this event helps people understand what police officers are coping with every day.”
Meade said that many times, because of a lack of funding, law enforcement officers are put in positions to do things they aren’t trained for, which puts a lot of pressure on them. She hopes that by spreading awareness about the topic, she can help ease that pressure. When she graduates next month, she wants to get a job as a social worker supporting the efforts of police and corrections officers.
David Sallee, Ph.D., M.S. ’97, from the College of Education and Human Development’s Health and Human Performance department, was on hand to talk with students about the pre-professional allied health sciences program, which helps prepare students to join health-focused programs at Radford University. These programs include athletic training, occupational therapy and physical therapy, among others.
“The more that we can work together as professionals across disciplines and understand what the needs are for each of the academic programs, the more we can help get students ready for success,” Sallee said. “The programs teach the professionals absolutely, but there are things we can help teach students as they enter programs. Today’s event gives us the opportunity to let students and faculty know about what we can do to support them.”
The afternoon sessions included nearly 30 more poster presentations from students and faculty, as well as the podium presentation “CATCH My Breath Training: Engaging Future Health Professionals in Adolescent Vaping Prevention” by the Department of Public Health and Healthcare Leadership’s Sallie Beth Johnson, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Public Health and Healthcare Leadership (PHHL), and program director and assistant professor in the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and Bachelor of Science in Public Health programs; PHHL students Haley Holdren and Jessica Nichols.
Students and faculty also had the opportunity to participate in a university and community expo where they could meet potential employers or agencies where they could volunteer. Among the organizations attending the expo were Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, Carilion Clinic Social Work Services, Family Insight PC, Friendship Health Rehabilitation South, Intrepid Hospice, Mount Rogers Community Services, Total Action for Progress and the Youth Advocate program. In addition, several Radford University departments and programs were represented, including the Center for Career and Talent Development, the Social Work Club, the PHHL department and the Radford University Clinical Simulation Center.
A research and writing collaborative café roundtable was also offered where students and faculty could share their research interests, discuss their current manuscripts in progress and brainstorm opportunities for collaboration across disciplines.