A program that helps diabetic patients at Shenandoah Community Health Center in Martinsburg will continue another year now that Shepherd University has received a $422,135 interprofessional collaborative practice grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration.
This is a renewal of a three-year grant, titled “CHOICES Program: Changing Health Outcomes for Patients with Diabetes through an Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Environment at Shenandoah Valley Medical System,” that allows students from several departments at Shepherd and from the West Virginia University School of Medicine Eastern Division to collaborate with healthcare professionals at Shenandoah Community Health Center to provide care for diabetic patients.
“This is just phenomenal,” said Dr. Sharon Mailey, acting dean for and chair of the Department of Nursing Education. “We really try to provide opportunities for students for interprofessional education. This is a stellar opportunity.”
Dr. Laura Clayton, professor of nursing education and administrator of the grant, said there are about 150 patients from Shenandoah in the program. Ten nursing students and up to eight students from other departments at Shepherd and the WVU medical school work with the patients helping assess their needs, running support groups, and holding educational and counseling sessions.
“The patients have seen tremendous improvement in their blood glucose control, weight loss, and exercise,” Clayton said. “It’s been an exceptional program.”
Clayton said the program has helped students in nursing, social work, psychology, and nutrition realize that it is important to be part of a team so patients can get the care they need. Many students have added that they only want to work in clinical agencies that focus on providing interprofessional patient-centered care.
Clayton said renewal of the grant will allow Shepherd to continue the dining with diabetes program and support groups and add some new experiences for the students, including a simulation on what it is like to live in poverty and a cultural simulation.