Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Commentary: Grappling with Health Care Workforce Needs in the 21st Century

Patrick Monaghan
Director of Communications
Jefferson School of Population Health

In their opening remarks to “Creating the Health Care Workforce for the 21st Century,” Thomas Jefferson University President Robert L. Barchi, MD, and University of Delaware President Patrick T. Harker, PhD, fittingly set the table for the day’s discussions.

Dr. Barchi spoke of the millions of newly insured that have been entering the country’s healthcare system with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and the need to develop creative approaches to extend the health care workforce in the face of the ongoing shortage of primary care doctors.

Dr. Harker spoke of the relationship between Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and the University of Delaware, and how the two institutions can “show the country how coordinated care can be provided.”

With that, the one-day conference, focused on addressing the challenges of workforce development under health reform, was off and running. In a day filled with poignant talks and thought-provoking panel discussions, a highlight was former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell’s keynote speech.

In his typically honest, disarmingly straight-ahead style, the former Governor expressed his concern over the competitive edge America has lost in science and technology; the need for the education of America’s youth to once again take center stage, and a call to return to the “can do” attitude that once made America the world leader in innovation, discovery, and scientific breakthrough. He spoke of the importance of the healthcare industry to the Greater Philadelphia region, and how conferences such as this one underlie how Philadelphia can serve as the point for an era of drastically improved healthcare in terms of quality, safety, innovation, and job creation.

Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, spoke on the benefits of cultivating collaborative and coordinated care and the great responsibility vested in academic medical centers, such as TJU, to train tomorrow’s medical professionals to work collaboratively as a team, and the importance of reducing waste and medical error to cut costs and improve medical outcomes.

Joanne Conroy, MD, chief health care officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, addressed the need for transformational change in the education of health care professionals, calling for “the right mix of physicians and essential health care providers with the right skills and training, in the right places.”

In one of two exceptional panel discussions, George W. Bo-Linn, MD, chief program officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s San Francisco Bay Area Program, underlined the importance of teamwork in healthcare, and how critical it is for health care professionals to engage their patients – or “persons,” as Dr. Bo-Linn prefers – in their own health care. “The current most widely unrecognized and largest workforce is patients and their families,” Dr. Bo-Linn declared.

The health care workforce for the 21st century will need to adapt to a health care system currently in reform, but the most basic tenet remains the same, surmised David B. Nash, MD, MBA, Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health - “Patients, or persons, will remain at the center of all we do.”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 21 Special Conference

The Jefferson School of Population Health is all fired up this week as we head toward our long planned special joint conference with our colleagues at the University of Delaware entitled "Creating the Healthcare Workforce of the 21st Century". This conference will be held on our campus in center city Philadelphia in the Hamilton Building between 10th and 11th streets in the Connelly auditorium.

The day is devoted to addressing the key policy question---what kind of healthcare workforce will our nation need to help fulfill the promise of health reform?. Among the luminaries who will be presenting are Susan Dentzer, the Editor in Chief of HEALTH AFFAIRS, Dr Joanne Conroy, a key leader from the AAMC in Washington DC, former Governor of PA Ed Rendell, and Dr George Bo-Lin, the CMO of the Intel foundation in California. It is an amazing line up for sure.

There will also be two panel discussions with many other regional leaders as we tackle some tough questions about, for example, the role of nurse practitioners in the future, the appropriate supply of primary care doctors, the need for interprofessional education in the health professions and related subjects.

I hope you will join us for this amazing event. You can register directly at the following address... We look forward to seeing you there!! DAVID NASH

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guest Commentary: JSPH's Academic Programs are Thriving

Caroline Golab, PhD
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
Jefferson School of Population Health

This September, the Jefferson School of Population Health (JSPH) welcomed 185 new and returning students to a combination of on-site, off-site, and online courses – an 80%increase in enrollment over September 2010. And this is only our third year of operation!

In addition to our PhD program in Population Health Sciences and our Master’s degree and certificate programs in public health, health policy, healthcare quality & safety, and chronic care management, we introduced two new degree programs – a Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Safety Management (MS-HQSM) and a Master of Science in Applied Health Economics and Outcomes Research (MS-AHEOR). We have also developed programs in healthcare risk management, scheduled for debut in fall 2012.

The MS-HQSM, offered in cooperation with the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE), is designed specifically for physician leaders and addresses the national need for executive leadership in healthcare quality and patient safety. It equips physician leaders with tools, methods, knowledge, and strategies necessary for this task. The MS-AHEOR builds on Jefferson’s more than twenty years of experience and expertise in health outcomes research. It meets the growing need for professionals to evaluate and measure health outcomes (both physical and humanistic) and to ascertain economic consequences of health care interventions by determining optimal clinical effectiveness, comparative effectiveness, and economic value.

The 2011-2012 academic season also represents our second year of asynchronous online course delivery to a national audience. The introduction of online programs followed an extensive period of preparation that included adoption of a nationally recognized rubric (Quality Matters) and development of a mandatory comprehensive faculty training program (CATS) to assure excellence in online course design and instruction. Often to their surprise, both students and faculty have discovered that online learning provides exceptional opportunities for increased collaboration, community building, and enhanced learning outcomes – all items near and dear to our educational mission.

Through curriculum development and consultation, JSPH will continue to support the College within a College (CwiC) program for 50+ first- and second-year medical students enrolled in Jefferson Medical College. A co-curricular activity partially funded through a HRSA grant, CwiC enables these JMC students to complete six credits toward a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in conjunction with their medical education. The goal of this initiative is to encourage medical students to complete coursework for the MPH degree prior to their graduation from Jefferson Medical College.

For the fifth year, we have successfully recruited and obtained funding to support fourteen Fellows as part of the Greater Philadelphia Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program. The mission of the Schweitzer Fellowships is to encourage students in various health-related professions to become “leaders in service” and, by their example, to inspire others in addressing the health needs of underserved communities.

Finally, as the new School year starts, we are already planning next summer’s Global Health Academy, a four-week summer didactic and hands-on experience for high school students. Successfully launched this past summer under the guidance of Jefferson faculty and outside experts, students from local high schools studied major challenges to global health – everything from infectious diseases, natural disasters, water shortages, and healthcare delivery systems to the international resources, agencies and technologies that respond to these challenges. We believe it’s never too early to find and nourish future leaders in population health.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Guest Commentary: International Collaboration with Universidad CES, Medellín, Colombia

Rob Simmons, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, CPH
Director, MPH Program
Jefferson School of Population Health

This past August, I had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Medellín, Colombia at Universidad CES representing the Jefferson School of Population Health (JSPH). CES is an acronym for the “City of Eternal Spring” in English and is an indication of the temperate climate of Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city with a population of over 4 million. Universidad CES was founded 34 years ago by a group of Colombian physicians who wanted to establish a private, health science university with an emphasis on medical, dental, mental and veterinary medicine, and allied health education. Universidad CES has three large clinical entities in the region, including a major hospital in downtown Medellín, and has expanded its undergraduate and graduate education programs in the biosciences, physical therapy, public health, and most recently, health law. Enrollment currently stands at approximately 2700 students.

Universidad CES is considered the top university in the health sciences in Colombia and served as host to representatives of the US CDC Center for Global Health during my visit. Similar to the JSPH, one of its areas of focus is health care quality and safety, and CES holds an annual conference for health care professionals in South and Central America each fall.

In 2008, I had the opportunity to visit Universidad CES for a day and shared information about Thomas Jefferson University and our plans for a new school of population health. Over the past two years, the Jefferson School of Population Health has returned the favor and has hosted Dr. Julián Osorio, the Dean of the CES Medical School, Dr. Oscar Saldarriaga, its Director of International Relations, and one of its medical students. In the interest of collaboration, I was asked to come to Medellín to provide training and technical assistance for program directors and faculty.

During my stay at Universidad CES, I provided training on the infusion of public and community health education and practice in their medical education, presented an overview of the US public health and healthcare systems, provided a framework and resources for expansion of their global health prevention initiatives, and met with researchers on preventive health research opportunities in Colombia and the Americas.

At the conclusion of my visit, we discussed future collaborative opportunities between Universidad CES and Thomas Jefferson University and, particularly, the Jefferson School of Population Health. These could include student and faculty exchanges, collaborative research opportunities, and joint professional education symposia in-person and via satellite in both Philadelphia and Medellín. David Nash, JSPH Dean, has been invited to be the keynote speaker at one of CES’s annual international conferences on Quality and Safety in the future. I look forward to working with Universidad CES and helping build future collaborative health initiatives between our two universities.