GARY | A group of Indiana University Northwest students from the College of Health and Human Services participated recently in the Healthy Path community-education event as part of CHHS’s Interprofessional Education Program.
IPE brings together students from various CHHS disciplines for team-based learning and outreach exercises that promote better understanding and communication between health care practitioners.
The Healthy Path program calls for students to set up health check stations along the walking track at Gleason Golf Course just west of campus. Student nurses take community members’ blood pressure, check height and weight, and perform other wellness checks, while other CHHS students and even community health groups provide useful health information to passers-by.
The program gives students valuable experience working with the public and with each other, while also providing a welcome service to community members who exercise at the Gleason course.
“The Interprofessional Education idea all came from the idea of health care errors and how they are 100 percent avoidable and are due to miscommunication of one sort or another,” said Patrick Bankston, Ph.D., associate dean and director of IUSM-NW and dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “Programs like these help to educate the students about each other’s roles in the health care process, and they help to educate the community, too.”
Bankston said that Healthy Path is the first of several new IPE programs in various stages of development.
Healthy Path was the result of community-based research conducted by the students, according to nursing student Carlton Donnell.
“Six of us, three at a time, came out and walked the track and spoke with the people who were out here,” Donnell said. “We asked them what kinds of services and information they would like to see in a program like this. They told us, and that is what we’re offering.”
One popular request was for HIV testing. On Oct. 17, workers from the nonprofit AIDS awareness group The Aliveness Project participated in the Healthy Path outreach event, offering free HIV testing and information.
Services and information might vary from month to month, according to IUN Clinical Assistant Professor Karen Bertram, an adviser to the Healthy Path program. “The response from the community so far has been very positive,” she said.