A collaborative team from Wright State University has been awarded more than $450,000 to train future clinicians to work in a multidisciplinary team environment in patient-centered medical homes.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Wright State University a $451,764 grant, renewable for five years, for primary care training and enhancement. The collaborative team includes Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine primary care residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics in addition to the Wright State-Miami Valley College of Nursing and Health, Wright State School of Professional Psychology and the Kettering College Physician Assistant Program.
HRSA is funding more than $149 million in new awards through 12 workforce programs to prepare the next generation of skilled, diverse primary care providers to serve communities in need nationwide.
The grant awarded to the Wright State team was part of the Primary Care Training and Enhancement Program. Under this program, HRSA funded 33 grants nationwide totaling $14.5 million for primary care training and enhancement. The grants were awarded to hospitals, medical schools, academically affiliated physician assistant training programs and other entities to improve the quality, quantity, distribution and diversity of the primary care workforce through curriculum enhancement and training program expansion.
Therese Zink, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine and principal investigator of the grant, said that the grant addresses a need to train future physicians to work in a multidisciplinary team environment.
“There are not enough physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants to meet the primary care needs of patients,” Zink said. “By learning to work together and appreciate each other’s scope of practice during training, we will graduate clinicians who are better prepared to work in teams.”
As health care evolves, a new approach to patient-centered care is emerging, one in which a physician works with a team of health care professionals, including behavioral health care providers, community health workers, pharmacists and other health care professionals to provide the patient with the best physical and mental health care.
When a patient visits the Boonshoft School of Medicine residency clinics in family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics, he or she interacts with a team of health care professionals under the patient-centered medical home approach to health care. At one visit, a patient could see a doctor, meet with a counselor for depression, learn stress reduction techniques and review medications with a pharmacist. They might also meet with a community health worker to learn more about respite care for an aging parent, to get a referral for inexpensive medications or obtain assistance with housing.
The HRSA grant will bring additional resources to the current efforts to train future clinicians to work in teams that can fully address the needs of patients, particularly in underserved communities.
“Historically, the focus was the doctor and the patient,” Zink said. “Now with the patient-centered medical home, there is an opportunity and resources to assist patients with other issues.”
The grant also will enable the Boonshoft School of Medicine interdisciplinary team to add a transformation specialist to help the various residency clinics with quality improvement activities, reach out to patients who need care but are not coming into the clinics and learn how to work together in interdisciplinary teams.
The HRSA award also brings resources to launch a primary care transformation fellowship. This additional year of training after residency will be available to family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics residency graduates. Fellows will receive a salary and additional coursework, including health care leadership courses, and clinical and teaching opportunities to prepare them to be academic faculty or transformational leaders in local health care systems.
“The fellowship also will create a pipeline for local health care system leaders,” Zink said. “The rapid changes in health care delivery and the need to deliver better care and manage costs also are important for health care leaders.”