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Health Systems Science and Interprofessional Practice

Health Systems Science and Interprofessional Practice (HSSIP) is one of the four domains at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Health Systems Science (HSS) is broadly defined as the study of how healthcare delivery systems provide high quality, high value care to the patients and populations they serve, while Interprofessional Practice (IP) refers to teams of healthcare professionals from a variety of disciplines working together to deliver this care. 

The HSSIP is integrated into all four years of medical school. Through this focused approach, our students emerge with a better understanding of the way health care is delivered and how they can make a positive impact on the health of the patients and communities they serve. Gaining knowledge of and skills in HSSIP will better equip them to deal with the challenges of health systems in practice.

Clinical Skills
Class of 2022 practices examining a standardized patients abdomen.

Year 1

Integrated course work with nursing and physician assistant students from Radford University Carilion to include 

Interdisciplinary teams formed of 8 to 9 students

Orientation to HSSIP

Teaming and leadership

Structure and function of the public health and healthcare delivery systems 

Clinical informatics, quality improvement, and patient safety 

Service learning community partnerships

Year 2

Team shadowing and observation experiences

Simulation experiences

Nurse shadowing experiences

Ethical and legal issues

Public health and medicine

Healthcare policy

Longitudinal experience in leadership and change agency through community health assessment and community health improvement

Years 3 & 4

Interprofessional learning objectives included in all clerkship rotations

Domain Days (series of special clinical topics)

Disaster Day with Radford University Carilion that includes over 200 students

Telephone medicine simulation with Radford University Physical Therapy students

Patient Safety/Quality of Care simulation

Final assessment of teamwork skills

Many thanks to our current partners who make interprofessionalism so successful! 

  • Radford University Carilion
  • Virginia Western Community College
  • Various other community organizations

[David Trinkle, associate dean for community and culture]: Students here get personalized research training so they'll be thought leaders when they graduate, and they also get personalized interprofessional training, which is all about teamwork.

[N.L. Bishop, former chair, interprofessionalism]: The medical students of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine work very closely with students over at the Jefferson College of Health Sciences [now Radford University Carilion]. 

[Raeva Malik, medical student]: How do we interact with everyone else who's in the hospital? Nurses, PT, OT nurses aides, everyone who's involved in the process of taking care of a patient.

[Shani Weerakoon, medical student]: And everyone comes from different backgrounds. You have to rely on everyone's unique experiences.

[Chris McLaughlin, medical student]: Being able to work with nursing students, physician's assistants, before you hit the actual hospital floors, is something that you just don't get at other medical schools.

[Eric Kim, medical student]: With a small school like Virginia Tech Carilion you really get to know your classmates well. It really does foster an environment of cooperation rather than competition.

[Rohini Mehta, medical student]: Virginia Tech Carilion is pretty unique and involving students at a very early point in their medical education.

[Adegbenga Bankole, MD, assistant professor, internal medicine]: The medical students actually come into contact with real patients, taking real history and doing real physicals, so you're not so nervous when you're starting your clinical electives.

[Sam Bircher, medical student]: I'm somebody who learns by doing so patients that are learning was was sort of my you know my style.

[Raeva Malik]: We had a LACE program which is our Longitudal Ambulatory Care Experience where we actually shadowed physicians before our third year.

[Saleem Ahmed, MBBCh, PCPS, former director of anatomical science]: The faculty themselves are very involved with the students because of the small class size.

[Raeva Malik]: You're teaching your classmates it's a much more engaged process.

[Donald Vile, medical student]: Problem-based learning it causes you to go out and seek the information that you need to know.

[Chris McLaughlin]: Being able to talk to nurses and PAs before you hit those hospital floors, kind of learn where they're coming from with their scopes of practice, it's just something that you just don't get at other medical schools.