Campbell holds 1st interprofessional education event of the semester

Brian Whittington addresses the first-year health sciences students.

BUIES CREEK — Campbell University’s first year interprofessional education (IPE) event signaled the beginning of the academic year as first year students from all disciplines of health sciences headed towards main campus on Wednesday, Aug. 20. This year’s event focused on autoimmune encephalitis, the mysterious disease discussed in the New York Times Bestseller “Brain on Fire” by Susannah Cahalan.

“Teaching our students how to work together in a health care team is a critical component of how we execute our programs,” said Michael Adams, assistant dean of interprofessional education and incoming dean of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. “By demonstrating the importance of each profession at the beginning of the program, we hope to inspire collaboration between students and faculty across the health care disciplines that Campbell offers.”

The First Year Event is a required education event which occurs once every semester for first-year health sciences students. This division of the IPE initiative focuses on professionalism and laying the foundation for working together in the health care setting. Activities for the First Year Event series range from team building exercises to discussions on books and relevant activities that pertains to news in the health care industry.

“This event was a great tool for first year students to use to cultivate our education and training, as well as interact with students from other programs,” said Tiffany Vu, current first-year pharmacy student. “The IPE program makes Campbell unique. It truly is preparing us for what lies ahead in our careers. The greatest thing that I have learned from this event is perspective. We all have different specialties and views which makes it possible for us to contribute to a diagnosis and/or implement the best treatment plan for our future patients.”

This particular event featured lively discussions in small groups on autoimmune encephalitis and a keynote address by Brian Whittington, a father from the local community whose daughter suffers from the disease. Whittington shared his family’s experiences with the health care system during his daughter’s diagnosis and how her current treatment is rooted in interprofessional care. The Whittington family endured four months of uncertainty with numerous health care providers being perplexed by this rare disease before a diagnosis was confirmed.

“I hope that, above all else, you learn the importance of compassion and working together from our story,” said Whittington as he addressed the 392 first year health sciences students. “Health care is not just about a diagnosis; it’s about the patient.”

The Office of Interprofessional Education will offer a follow-up lecture focused on autoimmune encephalitis by Xavier Preud’Homme on Tuesday, Aug. 26, in Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences. Preud’Homme serves as an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and assistant professor of medicine at Duke University Medical School. This event is open to the public.