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Poor care coordination is a significant contributor to poor health outcomes, including death, due to care delays, duplication in tests, and a general poor comprehensive conceptualization of an individual’s medical and psychosocial needs. Many strategies have been developed to improve care coordination; however, most of them focus on providers already in the workforce. This project sought to address internal cognitive factors among providers via a training curriculum on professional centrism provided to health care students during interprofessional education coursework. Individuals from varying levels of participation in the health care system were engaged to obtain their perspectives on the contributors and barriers to care coordination and collaborative practice. Medical professionals, mental health providers, patients, caregivers, educators, and health care students were engaged to ensure this project is relevant to their needs. Additionally, students participated in an initial viewing of the training curriculum and provided preliminary feedback. Challenges in collaboration and care coordination stem from a lack of communication between providers. Social identity theory posits that groups of individuals develop a cohesive set of cultures, norms, and values that informs their identity formation and can lead to distrust and competition between identity groups. Intergroup contact theory provides a basis for understanding the behavior change process that leads to reduced bias and prejudice, resulting in improved relations between groups and increased collaboration. Through a prior scoping review of the literature and community engagement, a training curriculum was developed titled Working Together. This curriculum is an interactive training provided in small groups or classrooms to students in interprofessional education. The curriculum is designed to increase awareness of centristic tendencies and the need for collaboration. The content includes information regarding collaboration, barriers, professional identity formation, professional centrism, and foundational skills and strategies to reduce the impact of professional centrism in collaborative interactions. The curriculum also includes a reflection workbook for participants to complete throughout the training and reference once in practice. Evaluation of the curriculum will occur in two ways. Participants will be asked to complete an anonymous pretest and posttest survey examining attitudes toward interprofessional education, collaboration, and other professional groups. The survey questions are a compilation of the Interprofessional Education Perception Scale and the interprofessional bias subscale from the Interprofessional Attitudes Scale. Second, participants will be asked to complete a training evaluation to ensure relevance to their roles and assess the value of the presentation style and materials. Interprofessional education is an effective strategy to improve quality of care and collaboration in health care. By supplementing this strategy with the Working Together curriculum, the hope is that participants will be better equipped to work collaboratively through the development of internal awareness and teamwork skills. Expansion of this training into existing health care group settings and community-based organizations will further support the grand challenge of closing the health gap by improving collaboration between individuals in the medical and social care fields to provide comprehensive, whole-person care.
A capstone project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Social Work
Social Work, Health Education