Virginia Tech Carilion wins competitive bid to host international conference in 2015

The Roanoke, VA city skyline

In a highly competitive site-selection process, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, in collaboration with Jefferson College of Health Sciences, has won a bid to host the fifth Collaborating Across Borders (CAB V) conference in Roanoke in September 2015. The event, sponsored every two years by the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative, is the premier North American conference on educating and implementing effective health care teams.

“We are honored to have been selected to host CAB V,” said Dr. Cynda Johnson, dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “Our robust curriculum in interprofessional education makes us a natural choice to offer a forum for thought leaders and clinicians engaged in improving patient care through effective teamwork. Even though our medical school is young, our innovative model for patient-centered care is already putting us on the map.”

The conference theme is “The Interprofessional Journey: Collaborating to Transform Health Care.”

Interprofessional education – when students in a range of health care programs learn together with the goal of fostering a collaborative team approach – has been shown to promote more effective, patient-centered care. The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine has interprofessionalism as a core educational strategy threaded throughout its four-year curriculum.

“Our interprofessional approach aims to nurture our students as thought leaders both in their careers and in their communities,” Johnson said. “By studying alongside students in other health professions, they learn how to be key members of effective health care teams.”

“Health systems are facing immense pressure to provide better care for patients while improving population health and reducing costs, and our care delivery system is entering a period of unprecedented, transformative change,” said Barbara Brandt, board chair of the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative and director of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. “Now more than ever, we have to focus on creating a genuine, sustainable collaboration between the practice and education communities that truly prepares our health professions students to work in this rapidly changing marketplace. CAB has become the leading venue, for practitioners, scholars, educators, health system leaders, and students to gather and advance that transformative thinking.”

CAB V is expected to draw 1,200 participants to the Roanoke Valley for the three-day event. The proposal to host the conference in Roanoke was the effort of leaders from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic, the City of Roanoke, the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, and The Hotel Roanoke, where the conference will be held.

“Collaboration is nothing new to Roanoke, Virginia Tech, or Carilion Clinic,” said Dr. David Trinkle, conference chair and associate dean for community and culture at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “Our leadership in interprofessional practice and education – combined with our success rate in offering high-quality, engaging conferences – makes us a natural choice to host such a large high-profile event.”

The conference host team has a long history of collaboration and interprofessional practices. Jefferson College of Health Sciences, for example, recognized the importance of interprofessional education two decades ago, when it implemented interprofessional courses in its undergraduate core curriculum. A decade later, the college integrated interprofessional education into its graduate courses. In addition, the college has been part of a collaborative learning partnership with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine since the school opened in 2010.

“We believe holding the CAB V conference in Roanoke will provide more than a beautiful setting for conference attendees,” said Nathaniel L. Bishop, president of Jefferson College of Health Sciences and chair of interprofessionalism at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “We’ll also be able to share meaningful lessons in incorporating interprofessionalism and teamwork across academic and clinical settings.”

Written by Catherine Doss