An Interprofessional Case Competition Targeting Vaccine Hesitancy: Results of a Pilot Study
Interprofessional case competitions have been used nationally for many years to advance interprofessional education (IPE). The CLARION competition at the University of Minnesota serves as an exemplary model that has been adopted across the country. Such competitions afford teams of health professional students an experiential opportunity to apply knowledge and skills about teamwork acquired through didactic IPE experiences, as a co-curricular (i.e., experiences outside formal curricula) event incentivized by monetary prizes and university-wide recognition.
Drawing inspiration from CLARION and widespread media coverage of COVID-19-related vaccine hesitancy, we designed an interprofessional case competition for first-year professional students at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio). Volunteer teams of 4 students from at least 3 different educational programs were tasked with developing an impactful, interprofessional intervention to reduce vaccine hesitancy in south central Texas, ostensibly to obtain a contract from the regional public health department. A maximum budget of $650,000 was established to foster creativity and encourage teams to “think big.” The competition was completed in two phases: submission of a written proposal, followed by an oral presentation.
A panel of 6 judges developed and applied scoring rubrics during each phase, with competition winners determined via summation of written and oral scores. We evaluated this program using quantitative and qualitative methods.
Twenty-four students (6 teams) participated in our co-curricular IPE pilot case competition and all completed the evaluation. Participants represented all 5 schools at UT Health San Antonio and 9 different educational programs: Medicine (MD [n=9]), Dentistry (DDS [n=4]), Health Professions (OT [n=4], PA [n=2], SLP [n=1]), Nursing (BSN [n=1], DNP [n=1]), and Graduate Biomedical Sciences (PhD [n=2]). Most participants (88%) were female. Participants strongly agreed that the competition provided meaningful opportunities to develop targeted Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) sub-competencies: Values/Ethics (92%); Teams/Teamwork (88%); Roles/Responsibilities (88%); and Interprofessional Communication (63%). Most participants (88%) reported that the monetary prize was an extremely or quite motivating factor for participation. Thematic analysis of responses to the question “what did you like best?” yielded three themes: meeting other health professions students, interprofessional collaboration, and opportunities to think critically within a team.
This co-curricular IPE pilot case competition, offered entirely virtually, demonstrated value at UT Health San Antonio to advance interprofessional competency development. It warrants the exploration of mechanisms to offer it on a larger scale. Integration with the national CLARION competition offers a potential opportunity to achieve this goal.