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Breaking down silos: engaging students to help fix the US health care system

Authors Kumarasamy M, Sanfilippo F

Received 16 December 2014

Accepted for publication 14 January 2015

Published 16 February 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 101—108


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Mathu A Kumarasamy,1 Fred P Sanfilippo1–3

1Emory–Georgia Tech Healthcare Innovation Program, 2Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, 3Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Problem: The field of health care is becoming a team effort as patient care becomes increasingly complex and multifaceted. Despite the need for multidisciplinary education, there persists a lack of student engagement and collaboration among health care disciplines, which presents a growing concern as students join the workforce.
Approach: In October 2013, the Emory–Georgia Tech Healthcare Innovation Program organized a student driven symposium entitled “US Healthcare: What's Broken and How to Fix It: The Student Perspective”. The symposium engaged students from multiple disciplines to work together in addressing problems associated with US health care delivery. The symposium was organized and carried out by a diverse group of student leaders from local institutions who adopted a multidisciplinary approach throughout the planning process.
Outcomes: The innovative planning process leading up to the symposium revealed that many of the student-discipline groups lacked an understanding of one another's role in health care, and that students were interested in learning how to work together to leverage each other's profession. The symposium was widely attended and positively received by students and faculty from the Atlanta metropolitan area, and has since helped to promote interdepartmental collaboration and multidisciplinary education across institutions.
Next steps: The student symposium will become an annual event and incorporate broader discipline representation, as well as a patient perspective. Proposals for additional institution-wide, multidisciplinary educational offerings are being addressed with the help of faculty and health care providers across the network. Accordingly, the implementation of student-driven symposia to engage students and stimulate institution-wide changes may be a beneficial and cost-effective means for academic health centers looking to facilitate multidisciplinary health care education.

multidisciplinary health care education, multidisciplinary student engagement, multidisciplinary team-based learning

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