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Health Sciences

CWU Joins Collaborative to Educate More Regional Health Care Professionals

Central Washington University is teaming up with Yakima’s Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU) in forming the Yakima Valley Interprofessional Practice and Education Initiative (YVIPEC). The goal is to produce new and additional collaborative approaches to regional healthcare while improving access to such care at the same time.

This comes in response to an increasing number of people seeking medical treatment under provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Implemented to increase access to and quality of healthcare, while improving patient satisfaction, and reducing overall costs, issues are now coming up pertaining to allotment of finite state- and local- healthcare resources.

“Interprofessional education is a team-based approach to health care,” explained Keith Monosky, a CWU professor of nutrition, exercise, and health sciences. “It’s particularly important in rural areas, which can struggle to attract health care professionals.”

Such training allows students from two, or more, health care areas to learn together during a portion of—or throughout—their professional training so that they may become familiar and accustomed to providing coordinated and comprehensive medical experiences. Monosky represents CWU, along with Ethan Bergman, associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, on the YVIPEC’s steering committee.

“Our focus is to create collaborative approaches to improve patient health outcomes through developing a program structure and function, such as curriculum and faculty development,” he said.

The results of a committee-produced white paper found that health care in medically underserved areas is often worsened by a scarcity of trained health care professionals. Patient factors—age, chronic illness, and socio-economic status—also contribute to health care challenges.

“Central’s involvement will help establish a more uniform delivery of healthcare in Washington State with a markedly improved access as well,” noted Monosky, who also serves on the National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Advisory Council and directs the university’s EMS paramedicine program.

Along with CWU and PNWU, the collaborative includes representatives from Heritage University, Washington State University, and Yakima Valley Community College.

“It’s rewarding that there is so much interest—and commitment—to this effort,” stated Monosky, who pointed out that the YVIPEC may be the first join venture involving more than one institution, as most of the nation’s interprofessional collaboratives are contained within a single college or university. 

EMS paramedicine is one of several CWU-offered health care-related majors, which also include community, school, and public health; exercise science; food science and nutrition; pre-chiropractic; pre-dentistry; pre-medicine; pre-nursing; and pre-pharmacy. In addition, the university confers master’s degrees in health and physical education, and nutrition.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of radio services and integrated communications, 509-963-1487, loweryr@cwu.edu.

April 6, 2016

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