(L-R) Dr. Gail Gall, Dr. Alexander Green, Aswita Tan-McGrory, and Dr. Joseph Bettencourt
Faculty and students from MGH Institute of Health Professions School of Nursing and Harvard Medical School will collaborate on designing a team-based interprofessional curriculum to provide high-quality, safe, and effective health care for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and culturally diverse patients.
The two-year program, Improving Quality and Safety for Diverse Populations: An Innovative Multidisciplinary Curriculum, has been funded by a $289,000 grant, initiated by the Massachusetts General Hospital Disparities Solutions Center, from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation of New York City.
The curriculum will focus on three areas: teaching quality improvement and patient safety, interprofessional education, and training health professionals to serve underserved populations.
“In order to improve the safety and effectiveness of the care we provide, particularly for vulnerable patients, we have to develop health care teams that work well together,” said Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor of Medicine Alexander Green, MD, MPH, co-principal investigator and Associate Director of the Disparities Solutions Center. “This new program is an exciting step in that direction.”
Multicultural LEP patients, compared with native English speakers, suffer from worse clinical outcomes, in part because of difficulty communicating about their needs, concerns, and lack of understanding – especially if they must explain their condition multiple times to several health professionals. This can lead to diagnostic, treatment, and medication errors, longer hospital stays, patient dissatisfaction, lack of informed consent, and failures in follow-up care.
More than 50 third-year nursing and medical students from both schools will be recruited to help design and ultimately participate in the new curriculum. They will be split into groups so they can interact as well as participate in joint focus groups and online surveys to provide feedback on the course outline and intervention methods. Faculty from both schools will do the same.
“This is a great opportunity for nursing students from the MGH Institute and medical students from Harvard Medical School to learn how to treat patients together, which is expected to lead to improved outcomes,” said MGH Institute School of Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor Gail Gall, PhD, RN, co-principal investigator.
The new curriculum will be built on a web-based teaching platform that is expected to be able to be used by other health professions schools to implement their own approach to interprofessional education and training.
MGH Institute faculty participants are Dr. Gall; Assistant Professor Clara Gona, PhD, APRN; Associate Provost for Academic Affairs BA Harris, DPT, MS; and Assistant Professor Deborah Navedo, PhD, CPNP, CNE. Representing Harvard Medical School and the Disparities Solutions Center are Dr. Green; Director Joseph R. Betancourt, MD, MPH; Jason Van Duong; and Operations Manager Aswita Tan-McGrory.