George E. Thibault, MD Nexus Award

The George E. Thibault, MD Nexus Award celebrates exemplary interprofessional collaboration in the United States and those who are thinking and acting differently where practice and education connect in health systems. In most years, this award recognizes local and multi-system Nexus partnerships of health systems, clinics, educational institutions and/or community organizations for extraordinary contributions in the Nexus: Redesigning both healthcare education and healthcare delivery simultaneously to be better integrated and more interprofessional while demonstrating outcomes. 

However, we are living through an unprecedented time, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting literally every aspect of healthcare education, healthcare delivery, and the health of individuals and communities. And we have seen, through some truly extraordinary submissions to Nexus Summit 2021, how health professions students, educators, and practitioners are working together in previously unimagined ways to meet the needs of their local and regional communities. 

Therefore, the George E. Thibault Nexus Award for 2021 will be awarded to five programs that have provided exemplary service within the Nexus and created unique partnerships that have met critical needs for their communities during the pandemic. Click on each program name below to view a Lightning Talk recorded video that shares their exemplary work:

  1. An Interprofessional Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination with Health Science Students and Faculty, University of Illinois Chicago: Building on existing partnerships, students from the colleges of dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy worked with faculty and affiliated hospital staff to deliver over 100,000 COVID-19 vaccinations in five months. Students engaged in interprofessional learning and teaching, as they worked across colleges to prepare colleagues for vaccine clinic shifts. In addition to direct impact for the community, learning and collaboration among faculty, staff and students continues.

  2. IPE in Practice: Putting Shots in Arms, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center and Unity Clinic: To meet the needs of our state, the Unity Clinic, the campus's student-led interprofessional clinical experience, served as a vehicle to recruit and engage students from across the campuses 7 colleges.  Over the course of several months, the team trained approximately 300 students in injection practices, safety, and quality. Volunteers contributed 7,500 hours of service and administered 35,000 vaccinations. This effort has generated ongoing efforts to continue to provide vaccinations in underserved and at-risk communities. 

  3. Improving Access to COVID-19 Vaccinations through Interprofessional Collaboration at a Student-Run Clinic, Case Western Reserve University: The Student Run Health Clinic (SRHC) partnered with a federally qualified health center, Neighborhood Family Practice, to increase patient access to vaccinations. The SRHC administered 5,078 COVID-19 vaccine doses to 2,870 patients during the course of 16 clinic days. 53% of doses went to patients 75 years of age or older. 29% of patients receiving vaccinations reported their ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino, compared to 1.2% of patients visiting all other FQHCs in Cuyahoga county, and 2.1% of patients in the county overall. Each clinic day recruited an average of 15 student volunteers representing four health professional schools, for a total of 174 unique volunteers. Of these 174. Overall, the SRHC’s adaptation to provide vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic successfully served a critical need for both patients and graduate health students.

  4. Giving It Our Best Shot! The West Virginia Administration, Collaboration and Support Team, West Virginia University: West Virginia was recognized early on nationally for its early success in administering COVID-19 vaccinations. Part of this success was due to the WV Vaccine Administration, Collaboration, and Support (WV VACS) Team, a partnership between the WV National Guard (WVNG), the WV Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR), and the WV Higher Education Policy Commission (WV HEPC). Faculty and students from various healthcare colleges and universities across the state collaborated with community partners, local health departments, and hospitals to deploy interprofessional teams of students to serve at vaccination clinics. Over 1000 student volunteers from 9 different healthcare disciplines participated in this state-wide effort. The success of this effort is leading to planning for future use of similar strategies for other health initiatives.

  5. Better Together -  But 6 Feet Apart! The Carolina COVID Student Services Corps (Carolina CSSC): An Interprofessional Response to the COVID Pandemic, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: students from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, dentistry, public health, and allied health came together to assist their community. In October 2020, the Carolina CSSC expanded to include pre-health, graduate and undergraduate students, as a way to help them achieve service learning and volunteer experiences in health care. Current health professions students served as mentors and teams of students worked together at covid testing sites, contact tracing, vaccine administration, and supplies and kit making. Over 1500 students have participated in Carolina CSSC since November 2020 and provided over 25,000 hours of service to the Chapel Hill community. This model has now been shared with the North Carolina Area Health Education Center (NC AHEC) and AIHC with the goal of serving others to advance health.