Friday, October 4, 2013

Making an impact


Professions students volunteer on Community Day.

As her mother, Jean Nabstedt, looked on, 3-year-old Rachel happily played with MGH Institute of Health Professions students in the Charlestown Public Library’s children’s room. “Rachel can be a bit shy when she doesn’t know someone, but she perked right up with the students,” said Nabstedt, a Medford resident. “I’m glad we came.”

More than 320 faculty, staff and graduate students from the MGH Institute of Health Professions – which offers opportunities for students to learn and work alongside expert practitioners at the MGH – visited almost 30 nonprofit organizations during its second Community Day on Sept. 20.

Each team of 10 was composed of students in nursing, physical therapy and speech-language pathology who are beginning a semester-long class called Interprofessional Model for Patient and Client-centered Teams (IMPACT). The class aims to teach students to work with each other and lay the groundwork to provide interdisciplinary patient care during and after their institute education.

“The IMPACT class will help prepare graduates to function effectively as members of interprofessional collaborative teams, making a positive impact on the patients, clients and the health care systems in which they practice,” says Mary Knab, DPT, PhD, who also is a clinical specialist in the MGH Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy and a clinical assistant professor at the institute.

 “It’s extremely valuable to know what students in other disciplines do,” says first-year physical therapy student, Sasha Kossak, who was paired with a speech-language pathology student.

Students performed a variety of tasks throughout Charlestown, as well as in Beacon Hill, the South End, the North End and South Boston. They provided seniors with health tips, cleaned city parks, created arts and crafts, ran an adaptive soccer clinic for kids with disabilities and led a yoga class for high schoolers.

“We feel it is important for future health professionals to understand the communities where their patients come from,” says Peter S. Cahn, PhD, associate provost for Academic Affairs at the MGH Institute of Health Professions.  

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