West Virginia AHEC faculty and staff awarded for interprofessional education

The West Virginia Area Health Education Center (AHEC) has recently been awarded the 2021 interprofessional education (IPE) Faculty and Staff Award from the West Virginia University Office of Interprofessional Education.

The WVU Office of Interprofessional Education with WVU Libraries has awarded the WV AHEC for excellence in interprofessional education. Interprofessional education is when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. Once students understand how to work interprofessionally, they are ready to enter the workplace as a member of a collaborative practice team. This is a key step in moving health systems from fragmentation to a position of strength.

“Interprofessional education is incredibly beneficial because it allows students to collaborate, innovate, and cultivate leadership skills across disciplines,” Stidham said. “The WV AHEC Rural Community Health Scholars Program focuses on IPE as a way to help our Scholars think more critically about the ways they can create meaningful change in our medically underserved and rural communities.”

Three faculty and staff members are being recognized for this award: Treah Haggerty, MD, MS, an associate professor for WVU School of Medicine and a co-director of WVU Rural Track and Rural Scholars program; Jessica Stidham, MA, program manager for WV Area Health Education Center Rural Community Health Scholars; and Jacquelynn Copenhaver, MA, grants manager for WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health.

“This award is special for our team, as it highlights the passion we have for helping West Virginia’s next generation of health professionals prepare to go into the field,” Stidham said. “We are so grateful that our program can be highlighted in this way.”

WVU’s Office of Interprofessional Education has developed a three-phrase approach to their program with students starting on the continuum as a novice and working towards proficiency in interprofessional education and interprofessional care. The first phase is the didactic component, which introduces students to the concept of interprofessional education. The second and third phases are simulation and clinical practice experiences, which allow students to apply their didactic foundation to patient care.

The Office of Interprofessional Education will hold a virtual awards ceremony on June 9, 2021 from noon to 1 p.m. This ceremony will honor the 2020 and 2021 awardees, due to the ceremony being cancelled last year.

For more information, email Christie Zachary at christie.zachary@hsc.wvu.edu.