H-GEC Geriatric Interdisciplinary Student Team Competition Wins First Place in the Annual Innovations in Health Science Education Competition
An entry by Carmel Dyer, M.D. and Sharon K. Ostwald, Ph.D., R.N., project directors of the Houston Geriatric Education Center, won first prize in the annual Innovations in Health Science Education competition held by The University of Texas System during a two-day conference in San Antonio, May 18-19, 2011. The winning project, “Geriatric Interdisciplinary Student Team Competition,” won an award of $7,500 from the 7th Annual Innovations in Health Science Education Conference. Visit the UTHealth news room for the full story. See also the article, "UTHealth geriatric education program turns students into ombudmen" (June 10, 2011).
Students from four schools, UTHealth, University of Houston, Texas Women's University and The American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, participated in the fifth annual H-GEC Interdisciplinary Student Competion. Divided into five teams, the students visited Houston area multi-purpose community centers: J.W. Peavy Center, Kashmere Multi-Service Center, Ripley House Neighborhood Center, Third Ward Multi-Service Center and West End Multi-Service Center. The strength of the competiion uses the varied disciplines of the students to recognize issues they find that would improve life for the geriatric patients and in the unique resolutions they provide. Each year, the competiton is open to area students, some for course credit, but many just for the unique experience of working with students from different disciples. This year, the students were from twelve disciplines: medicine, nursing, pharmacology, dentistry, biomedical informatics, dental hygiene, occupational therapy, physical therapy, public health, social work, communication science/disorders and acupuncture/Oriental medicine. See also the article from the UTHealth School of Nursing Newsroom, "Student Competition Combines Geriatric Education and Interdisciplinary Teamwork" (April 18, 2012).
Enthusiastic students from various health professional degree programs at universities in Houston gathered for the kick-off of the fourth annual H-GEC Interdisciplinary Student Team Competition on Monday, January 24, 2011. Approximately 52 students participated in the 2011 competition, setting a new record for student participation in the competition. The competition focus changes annually, and focused this year on assessment of long-term care (LTC) facility resident needs by LTC ombudsman. Students had the invaluable experience of being trained as LTC ombudsman and participate in supervised visits with LTC facilities throughout Harris County, Texas. The training included assessing needs of LTC facility residents and their families; effectively communicating with residents and staff at the LTC facility; identifying ethical dilemmas in the facility; and advocating on behalf of the residents to facilitate solutions to problems.
Teams consisted of students from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Schools of Dentistry, Dental Hygiene, Nursing, Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Public Health, and Biomedical Informatics; the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work, College of Pharmacy, College of Optometry, Institute of Health Law and Policy, and Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders; and, Texas Woman’s University Schools of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. Three teams comprised of students from each health discipline competed on their ability to assess, analyze and develop plans to meet the needs of residents in LTC facilities, while demonstrating innovative problem-solving and an understanding of related ethical and health literacy issues. The Harris County LTC Ombudsman Program staff and interdisciplinary faculty from the listed schools judged the student teams.
At the conclusion of the competition on April 11, 2011, students were eligible for certification as volunteer ombudsman in Harris County. The three interdisciplinary teams of students were exceptionally creative in presenting their information, using video presentations, original artwork and pop culture references to offer ideas on LTC quality of life and facility improvements for residents, residents’ families and staff. The competition was a great success in educating students about the unique health issues of older adults in LTC settings, preparing them to employ a similar interdisciplinary approach in their future careers.