PT student advocates for interprofessional collaboration after IHI conference

Last year, three students revived The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School Chapter, or IHI.

An IHI Open School Chapter is a face-to-face group of students who work together to learn and apply skills in quality, safety and leadership. The shared goal of the group is to improve health and health care safety. Every IHI Open School Chapter is unique. Academic chapters are led by students and residents representing a variety of health professional programs at a university.

Group at IHI conferenceRecently, first-year Physical Therapy student Mitchell McDowell, in HSC’s School of Health Professions, further solidified the university’s IHI program by attending a national conference. The Fort Worth native was one of two HSC students to attend IHI’s 2023 National Forum in Orlando, Fla.

“It was very much geared toward hospital leadership and how to run a better business, increase patient satisfaction and things like that,” he said. “I had never been exposed to that before, so it was good getting to see the presentations and the exhibit hall. There was a lot of equipment and technology that they were trying to share with people. It was like a glimpse into the future of medical technology. I found it very beneficial.”

Before coming to HSC’s PT program, McDowell worked as a physical therapy tech at a local hospital. That experience is what drove him to seek out the IHI program.

“I noticed a need for better interprofessional collaboration between professions, so I thought it would be nice to learn what IHI is doing and see how we can promote better communication and coordination between professions,” he said.

One of the goals of the students was to establish the IHI chapter with a primary focus on interprofessional collaboration. The current board is multi-disciplinary, representing most of HSC’s schools.

“Mitchell has very early on shown his potential for leadership,” said Dr. Michael Furtado, chair of SHP’s Department of Physical Therapy. “Attendance at this conference is unique for a physical therapy student but comes as no surprise, as Mitchell consistently seeks skills, support and training to improve his ability to practice as a holistic health care professional. I hope he can use the information learned to better himself and those around him.”

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