IPE in Practice: Putting Shots in Arms
With the approval of the first COVID-19 vaccines, it became clear that students at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center (OUHSC) would be an integral component of the University’s community vaccination efforts. The OUHSC campus cares for Oklahomans across the state and took on the responsibility of leading large vaccination events early during vaccine rollout. 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. The interprofessional team had to develop methods to operationalize vaccine events to meet the administrative challenges of large-scale vaccination events. The Unity Clinic’s goal was to contribute to the statewide public health mitigation efforts and ensure patient safety, meaningful engagement of participants, and project efficiency with replicable operations. The team’s responsibilities included onsite supervision and coordination, process improvement, and volunteer recruitment, education, and training. These responsibilities were shared by an interprofessional team of clinical and non-clinical students who worked collaboratively to ensure successful clinical operations. Debriefs after each clinic allowed the open conversation to reflect on areas for improvement. These lessons and improvements were incorporated into the ongoing training of our clinical and non-clinical volunteers. 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. Although large vaccine clinics were initially needed to meet the demand for vaccination, our current efforts focus on meeting patients where they are. The community outreach vaccination team is building partnerships with trusted stakeholders to meet the healthcare needs of underserved populations. The outreach process includes identifying priority zip codes, trusted community partners, building relationships, and small-scale, localized vaccine clinics. Planning is underway to meet the needs of Oklahoma’s LGBTQ+, Latin, African American, and other minority communities.