Assistant VP to expand interprofessional health education, practice partnerships

The University of Louisville is meeting demands of the rapidly changing health care system by boosting education and practice collaboration among the health disciplines.

Whitney Nash, PhD, APRN, FAANP, UofL School of Nursing associate dean of practice and service, has been appointed assistant vice president of interprofessional practice partnerships at the UofL Health Sciences Center.

Nash will be responsible for expanding multidisciplinary practice at the academic health sciences center and forging partnerships with community organizations.

“The future is in interprofessional health education and practice,” Nash said. “Health care providers can no longer afford to practice in silos. Extensive research supports interprofessional education and practice as a mechanism to decrease medical errors and improve patient care.”

Nash will build upon UofL’s existing education and practice programs that incorporate interprofessional health care.

UofL Care Partners, a nurse practitioner-managed primary care clinic housed at the School of Dentistry, opened in 2018 to serve patients at the dental clinic and members of the community with immediate health needs and chronic issues.

The clinic is an outgrowth of an established relationship between the UofL Schools of Dentistry and Nursing, which in 2012 jointly received a $1.1 million federal grant that supported an educational initiative for nursing and dental students to enhance communication between the professions and develop best practices in patient assessment, consultation and management.

Another interprofessional practice site is the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center, a nonprofit clinic run by UofL School of Nursing faculty that has been nationally recognized as an innovative care model. Medical, nursing and dentistry students rotate at the clinic, which serves low-income backside workers of the thoroughbred racing industry.

UofL has translated interprofessional health research into curriculum changes as well.

Faculty members at the UofL School of Medicine developed a national training program to instruct educators at universities across the United States in teaching interprofessional palliative care for patients with cancer. Supported by the National Cancer Institute, the Interdisciplinary Curriculum in Oncology Palliative Care Education has trained thousands of students from social work, medicine, nursing and chaplaincy.

The Interprofessional Curriculum for the Care of Older Adults was funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration to develop and evaluate an interdisciplinary geriatric curriculum for medical, nursing, social work, pharmacy, dentistry and law students. The project aims to meet the needs of rural older adults by integrating geriatrics with primary care, maximizing patient and family engagement and transforming the rural health care system.