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The Catalyst

2014-15 Presidential Scholars Program: solving the health care puzzle

By Rachel Mink
College of Health Professions

The newest class of the Dr. Raymond S. Greenberg Presidential Scholars Program held their first meeting Sept. 2. photo provided

This year’s class of 47 Presidential Scholars met Sept. 2 to begin a year of interprofessional teamwork to address social, political and human issues present in health care.

Commencing in 2001, under the leadership of former MUSC President Raymond S. Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., the Presidential Scholars Program competitively selects students from the Charleston School of Law and the six colleges at MUSC who demonstrate leadership as well as an interest in interprofessionalism, the health care system and community health. In 2014, when Greenberg ended his tenure as president of the university, the board of trustees endowed and named the program, “The Dr. Raymond S. Greenberg Presidential Scholars Program,” in his honor.

The Presidential Scholars explore regional, national and global health concerns through extracurricular interactions twice monthly over the course of two semesters. In addition to lectures and a visit to the state legislature, the primary activity of the scholars is the design and implementation of community–engaged projects based on partnerships with local organizations to collaboratively address a health need identified by the community partners. This year’s theme is “Solving the Healthcare Puzzle” and teams will work in one of five broad topics: access to health care, health policy and advocacy, mental health, preventive health, and social determinants of health.

At the program orientation, University President David Cole, M.D., FACS, welcomed the new scholars by sharing his own vision for increasing the cohesion of the university's colleges, in order to improve the teamwork of practitioners emerging into the workforce. He took further time to listen to the scholars about their perceptions of health care education and community health care. In addition, Hazel L. Breland, Ph.D., program director, and Kahlil Demonbreun, DNP, one of eight faculty scholars, introduced this year’s program goals and themes.

With introductions behind them, the students reconvened Saturday morning, Sept. 6, for a retreat. Event keynote speaker Susan Newman, Ph.D., R.N., gave a talk entitled, "Engaging the Community for Positive Change: Principles, Partnerships and Practice." Newman, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and former rehabilitation nurse, provided her experiences and perspectives on community–based research from her collaborations with people who have spinal cord injuries. Scholars then began working in teams, and received advice from program fellows (returning student scholars) and faculty scholars.

Incoming scholar Patee Tomsic, a second–year graduate student in the Occupational Therapy Program, summed up her experience of the first week of the program. “I was excited to see that my fellow peers share the same enthusiasm about interprofessionalism that I do. As a group, we have the ability to change attitudes and practices with health care professionals across the continuum of care and lead to better outcomes.”

October 2, 2014



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