Though Dr. Marilyn Luptak has worked with interprofessional teams throughout her career as a geriatric social worker, expanding team-based care more broadly across health systems is a recent trend. “I’m convinced patients with complex medical and behavioral health needs are better served by an interprofessional team than by a single health provider,” she said. “I’m also convinced that, across health systems, we need to ground more professionals in this approach at the beginning of their careers.” Thanks to resources from the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education Accelerating Interprofessional Community-based Education and Practice grant, the University of Utah College of Social Work is using interprofessional education (IPE) hotspotting immersions to help students develop core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice. With this grant funding, the University of Utah has been able to place hotspotting teams in a Salt Lake County Housing Authority setting for chronically homeless individuals. The teams of students from health and behavioral health professions support Housing First residents who have complex and persistent health and non-health needs, such as substance use disorders, need for education, medical conditions, or mental health issues. The inclusion of social work students on these teams is critical, as they are professionally attuned to broader social determinants of health. Exposing these emerging professionals to each other’s strengths early on encourages future collaboration. Dr. Luptak explains, “By incorporating community-based interprofessional team work into our students’ education, we are preparing them to better address social determinants of health and improve health outcomes for their future real-world patients.”
Hart, S., Luptak, M. (Co-I), Andersen, T. C. (Co-I). Interprofessional Collaborative Systems-based Practice: Addressing the Drivers of Health and Health Care Utilization for Chronically Homeless Individuals in a Housing First Model. National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education Accelerating Interprofessional Community-based Education and Practice Grant. Total Funds: $100,000. October 2016 – September 2018.