On September 8, more than 150 students from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the Jefferson College of Health Sciences will participate in an afternoon of giving back to the Roanoke community. It’s the first annual Interprofessional Day of Service, a chance for the students to get to know each other and the launch of a yearlong curriculum on learning team skills, particularly those necessary in health care settings, as well as longer-term service projects and team activities.

“We want the students to start to learn how to operate effectively as a team,” said Dr. David Trinkle, associate dean for community and culture at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “After today, the medical and health sciences students will continue with a class in which they learn the roles and values of other health professions. Interprofessional training is an important part of our curriculum. Better teamwork leads to better patient outcomes.”

During the Interprofessional Day of Service, teams comprised of medical students, as well as those training to be nurses and physician assistants, and those pursuing Ph.Ds, will be dispersed to seven local agencies. Teams will be assigned to each of the locations, which include the Roanoke Public Library, the Rescue Mission, the Bradley Free Clinic, the Jefferson Center, Goodwill Industries of the Valley, Mill Mountain Theater, and the Roanoke-Alleghany Regional Commission.

In January, the students will begin a semester-long community service project in which they will put what they have learned about working and communicating in teams into practice.

“September 8 is a prelude to their bigger project,” Trinkle said. “It’s all in the name of giving to the community and learning important teamwork skills while they’re at it. We want our students to connect early with their local community and become an active part of the community during their studies here.”

Also invited to participate in the Day of Service are the 31 doctoral students who make up the charter class of Virginia Tech’s new Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health. Their program focuses on interprofessionalism across disciplines as the students are learning how to be a key link between basic and applied research.