North Carolina AHEC Program
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NC AHEC Innovations Showcased at Statewide Conference

Forty-eight examples of innovations and best practices from across North Carolina were presented during the NC AHEC Program Statewide Conference held on December 12, 2013 at The Warren NewtonWilliam and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill. More than 230 AHEC faculty, staff and partners attended with two main objectives: to share these innovations and to give input about the future of AHEC in the setting of the dramatic change coming to health care. An emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and the cross-fertilization of ideas was the key to the day.

The day began with a plenary session from NC AHEC Director Warren P. Newton, MD, MPH (photo right). He reviewed his current findings from his three-month old listening tour of the state, looked at the current state of health care in North Carolina, and set the agenda for the day.

The following are brief synopses of the innovations and best practices presented during the day:

Feeding the Flock with a Few Good Seeds! – Evan Richardson, Mountain AHEC. The demands and influences of the current health care environment have created a perfect opportunity for bringing community partners, practices, and health care professionals together to focus on improving regional health care outcomes. While the concept is not new, the appeal of participation has grown and is a natural fit for AHEC leadership and support, in collaboration with long standing partners – CCNC, NC DPH, hospitals, and others.

AHEC, Phone Home – Using Technology to Promote Collaboration Among an Academic Medical Center and Regional Primary Care – Christopher Jones, Northwest AHEC. Using one-time funds, the Northwest AHEC equipped three internal medicine clinics with videoconferencing equipment and linked them with regional primary care providers via a multipoint AHEC bridge and capture station.  This enabled the following collaboration: 1) allowed trainees at off-campus sites within the community to participate in a real-time and interactive fashion; 2) extended educational reach to providers in counties included in the Northwest AHEC service area by providing live or on demand access to the content delivered in these rooms;and 3) formed educational partnerships that are not possible without technology in place.

Evan RichardsonRAMP Up! – Next Wave for AHEC Impact – Evan Richardson, Mountain AHEC (photo right). Team-based care has been recognized for its potential in helping to bring about meaningful health care transformation. AHEC has the resources needed to support and guide the training and implementation of multi-disciplinary teams across the state and in so doing, carry its impact on the quality, value, and experience of health care for North Carolinians well into the future.

Partnerships to Streamline Clinical Placement Processes – Kathy Clark, Wake AHEC. An update of the collaborative work of academic and clinical partners to address the clinical capacity and placement process issues for health science students by using a consortium model for effective and efficient outcomes.

Blended Learning Experiences in Behavioral Health for Advanced Practice Professionals – Jennifer Borton, Southern Regional AHEC. Primary care providers, including advanced practice professionals, see large numbers of patients with behavioral health needs in their offices. The blended learning behavioral health intensives and academies offer additional training to meet the educational needs of advanced practice professionals not gained in academic training programs.

Health Literacy 2014: Stumbling Blocks to Stepping Stones – Diane C. Yelverton, Wake AHEC. Wake AHEC worked with the Wake Health Literacy Coalition to provide support for the 2014 Health Literacy Month celebration. This collaboration is a paradigm shift from focusing on education for currently licensed providers to health care students who may have the biggest impact on promotion of health literacy in the future.

Jennifer CaseyBIGGER BANG for the Library Buck: Partnering with Regional Hospitals to Leverage AHEC Funds – Jennifer Casey (photo right) and Nancy Stein, Northwest AHEC. Northwest AHEC successfully cost shares its library expenses with partnering members.

Orientation for the Future – Elizabeth Harris, South East AHEC. Onboarding is critical to a new employee’s overall satisfaction and morale, so SEAHEC made the decision to invest in the redesign of their 2013 New Resident Orientation. This is the story of their success and experience in the continuous improvement process.

The 3 Cs of Integrating Primary Care and Public Health: Community Coaching Connections – Dawn Grant, Eastern AHEC. This presentation showed the impact that connecting a primary care practice with community resources can make on clinical outcomes and building capacity in health care.

Integrating Behavioral Health Services Into Primary Care: What You Can Learn From Our Successes and Mistakes – Matt Martin, Southern Regional AHEC. Martin described the history, structure, and future plans of SR-AHEC’s integrated behavioral health services.

Interprofessional Education Through Interprofessional Leadership – Olivia Herndon, Jon Servoss, and Saralyn Gillikin, South East AHEC. Changes were made in the CE department of SEAHEC to focus on interprofessional education (IPE) through a shared leadership model. Emphasis was placed on the reflection of the changing health care model of today and how continuing education needs to mirror this concept.

Dentistry in Service to Communities (DISC) – Lewis N. Lampiris, UNC School of Dentistry. This presentation provided participants with a deeper understanding on how AHEC and the UNC School of Dentistry are collaborating to train future dentists to provide care to underserved populations throughout North Carolina.

Peering into the Pipeline – Elaine Owens, Wake AHEC. Wake AHEC shared experiences using the National Student Clearinghouse and annual graduate surveys for tracking student progress toward a health career and current efforts to reconnect former students as Saturday Academy presenters.

TEACCH Autism Program and AHEC Collaboration – Laura Grofer Klinger, TEACCH Autism Program, and Karen Stallings, NC AHEC Program. When TEACCH was created in 1972, the rate of autism was 1 in 2,500; currently the rate of autism in North Carolina is 1 in 70. Given this incredible rise in diagnostic rates and parallel increase in requests for services, TEACCH’s new mission statement emphasizes the importance of “creating and cultivating” exemplary community-based services across the state. Through a partnership with AHEC, TEACCH is creating novel online and continuing education approaches to build a qualified workforce to meet the growing needs.

Tracking Attendance for CE via Text Messaging – Andy Brewer, Northwest AHEC. Utilizing SMS technology to capture attendance for CME lectures. Low tech and low maintenance.

A Systemic Approach to Rural Health Professions Shortage – Alice Schenall, Area L AHEC. As job growth is projected to continue, a clear opportunity has emerged to help transition the long term unemployed into health careers. Multiple roadblocks exist; however, this presentation shared strategies that focus on structures to support long-term unemployed work transition into health careers.

Philip RodgersCurricular Transformation of the Doctor of Pharmacy Program – Philip T. Rodgers, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy (photo right). The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s plans for a transformative change of its PharmD curriculum to better educate pharmacy students to meet the challenges of the new health care environment.

Hermits Have No Peer Group (Steven Wright): Shared Medical Appointments – Harnessing the Power of the Group to Improve Health Outcomes – Monique Mackey, Area L AHEC. In 2012, Area L AHEC received a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to assist a regional Federally Qualified Health Center with the implementation and provision of shared medical appointments (SMAs). This talk outlined the mechanics of the project and highlighted lessons learned.

From Presenter to Participant: Practical Lessons Learned through Webinars – Debbie Caton Rogers, Eastern AHEC. Lessons learned (and being learned!) from a one-hour webinar offered free of charge, to a three-hour accredited webinar with registration fees.

ACA: Transforming Quality of Care in North Carolina - A Role for AHEC – Larry Freeman and Ellen Kesler, Northwest AHEC. Supported by NC AHEC funds, Northwest AHEC will be implementing an ACA Enrollment Support Project that will involve technology, facilitation, and sharing of best practices.

Patricia ParrishPharmacy Technician Training Institute (P.T.T.I.) Pipeline – Patricia Parrish, Greensboro AHEC (photo right). A program offered to high school seniors, undergraduate students and students returning to the workforce to become certified pharmacy technicians. Students take the pharmacy technician certification board exam at the end of the course. Students are using this program to work part-time in pharmacy as well as a gateway to pharmacy school and other career paths.

Creating Value with the Charlotte AHEC Library Book and Subscriptions e-Form – Charles Troutman, Alan Williams, Aaron Sexton, and Nick Vukovich, Charlotte AHEC. Charlotte AHEC leveraged the AHEC Digital Library as a way to centralize resources across their health system. They created an on-line order form and review process for Charlotte AHEC library staff to review book and subscription purchases system-wide. This allows for combined ordering when appropriate and the sharing of existing resources where they can.

AHEC as a Primary Care Extension Center: Current Outcomes and Future Implications – Samuel Cykert, NC AHEC Program. A brief synopsis of the clinical effect of AHEC practice support services and potential future roles for AHEC in this area.

LIC in Time – A New Paradigm – Robyn Latessa, Mountain AHEC. Exciting details about the Asheville longitudinal program including history, unique curricula features, and outcomes.

Sports Medicine Fellowship – Not Just Fun & Games – Timothy Ryan Draper, Karl Bert Fields, and Martha Delaney, Cone Health Sports Medicine Fellowship. A unique approach to educating about sports medicine through special seminars and hands-on "sideline" clinics.

It’s Not Your Ma’s Lamaze: Increasing Access to Lamaze Childbirth Education in Diverse Populations – Tara Owens Shuler, Duke AHEC Program. A statewide Lamaze childbirth education training program for NC Local Health Departments. The goal of this project is to assist NC LHDs to have a specially trained staff member in evidence-based childbirth education and empower pregnant women with information that will help them make informed and empowering decisions for their birth and baby.

David HainlineSuccessfully Using Web Technology to Remove Barriers to Collaboration – David Hainline (photo right), Cathy Webb, and Laura Conner, Charlotte AHEC. Answers to the following: Why and when you might want to use web-technology for collaboration? What are some of the available tools to consider using? What our experience has been with these tools?

Look What’s Cooking with Brenner FIT, Northwest AHEC and YMCA – Michael Lischke, Northwest AHEC, and Sara Ebbers, Wake Forest School of Medicine. A multiple community organization partnership based at one YMCA branch. WFBMC funding combined with Mebane Charitable Foundation, YMCA, Northwest AHEC and Kohl’s Care Foundation made this possible. The teaching kitchen provides a place for families to learn how to prepare healthy and inexpensive meals together. Northwest AHEC will soon begin to broadcast cooking classes and other educational offerings via the internet targeting health professionals and general public.

Journal Club: Innovative Approach to Professional Development at AHEC Nursing Discipline Meeting – Mary Schuler, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing, and Karen Stallings, NC AHEC Program. One year ago, the NC AHEC Nurse Council set a goal to provide professional development at each discipline meeting. At the November 2013 meeting, a Journal Club was conducted, discussing research articles related to Interprofessional Continuing Education and implications for AHEC Programs.

Geographic and Interdisciplinary Rounding: A Method to Improve Teamwork on the Inpatient Medicine Teaching Service – John Perry, Wake AHEC, and Amit Purohit, WakeMed. In October 2013, WakeMed implemented geographic and interdisciplinary rounding for its house staff teams in an attempt to improve patient care through better working relationships with nurses, case managers and other health care professionals. While there have been challenges in placing patients in strict geographic locations, there have been subjective benefits from the new system from enhanced collaboration.

AudienceThe Value of Communications and Development – Raising the Profile to Leverage Resources – Tina M. Owen, Mountain AHEC. Communications and development play a valuable role to raise the profile of MAHEC among our constituencies and increase funding resources for our sustainability and growth. This session introduced communication approaches and tools to strengthen public relations and leverage resources through a unified message including: press publications, website development, journals, e-news, events and grant awards.

(Photo right: Conference participants at The Friday Center)

Charlotte AHEC: Collaborative Community Involvement Through Education – Holly Blackman and Lisa Littlejohn, Charlotte AHEC. Advancing health care quality and building partnerships in the communities we serve. Working with community advocates on human trafficking, childhood obesity, mental health first aid and the Affordable Care Act has allowed Charlotte AHEC the opportunity to unify efforts within their region and opened doors for education of health care providers and the community at large, spurring action and creating change.

SR-AHEC Farmacy: Using Food as Medicine – Karen Goble, Southern Regional AHEC. This session introduced the design and outcomes from the pilot phase of the Southern Regional AHEC Farmacy Garden. The demonstration kitchen garden and farmer’s market increases access to healthy food and inspires the health care community to emphasize food as medicine – an integral part of patient care.

Youth Health Service Corps – Creating Volunteer Spirit in Eastern NC – Jillian Robinson, Eastern AHEC. This presentation described the activities and implementation strategy of the Youth Health Service Corps that led to Eastern AHEC’s students earning the third highest number of volunteer hours in the nation.

Implementing Quality Rounds within Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS) – Carolyn Minnock and Christie Voelker, Charlotte AHEC. Implementing Quality Rounds (QRs) throughout 54 accredited Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS). This session gave a background of the Charlotte AHEC RSS programs and the purpose of implementing QRs, as well as insights into how their learning collaborative was initiated, how it is monitored and what the future may bring.

The Affordable Care Act: Education & Enrollment – Jonathan Servoss, Olivia Rich Herndon, and Saralyn Gillikin, South East AHEC. 81,812 people or 20.8% of the population in our region of North Carolina do not have health insurance. To address this need, SEAHEC has partnered with community organizations to offer an education and enrollment series designed to positively impact the health of thousands and support our mission of “Teaching Health and Taking Care.”
Improving Transitional Care: A Pharmacy Education Model – Dionne L. Knapp, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Eastern AHEC. Vidant Medical Center, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Eastern AHEC have collaborated to develop a transition of care pharmacy practice model to improve patient outcomes in Eastern North Carolina. The model focuses on providing quality transitional care to patients and serving as an educational practice experience for both pharmacy student and resident training.

CASCE on Roller Skates – Lee Howard, Senior Programmer, Analyst, Northwest AHEC. This presentation explained how the Northwest AHEC Course Generator is used to extend the functionality of statewide course management systems.

Graduate Medical Education in the US: Lessons Learned from State Initiatives – Erin Fraher, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. The debate on how best to reform and fund Graduate Medical Education (GME) is moving up the health policy agenda. Most of the proposals are coming from national organizations offering national solutions. Often absent from the discussion is the important role states play in reforming GME. 

The Three F’s: Fast, Fluid, and Flexible — the Keys to Success – John T. Bigger, Southern Regional AHEC. This presentation discussed how utilizing the ability to be fast, fluid, and flexible has contributed to the success of the North Carolina Evidence Based Practices Center with a review of the key indicators identified by the NC EBP Center that led to action steps taken to ensure success.

Fellowship for Advanced Care Practitioners – Mary Hall, Charlotte AHEC. In 2013, Carolinas Healthcare System (CHS) established the Center for Advanced Practice (ACP) to optimize core services related to advanced care practitioners (ACP). CHS has created and implemented a one-year postgraduate ACP fellowship program.

Health Affairs Pipeline Initiative (HAPI) – Brenda Mitchell, UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Allied Health Sciences, and Jacqueline R. Wynn, NC AHEC Program. HAPI is an exciting new collaboration formed by minority administrators at UNC-Chapel Hill in Allied Health Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Social Work, Medicine and Dentistry. HAPI’s goal is to increase recruitment and retention of underrepresented students at UNC-Chapel Hill in health careers. A number of dynamic strategies were created and utilized by HAPI partners to serve as informational portals for high school, undergraduate students and gatekeepers who seek information on health affairs degrees and pipeline programs.

Improving Interprofessional Collaboration Among CE Departments – Dawn Grant, Eastern AHEC. Eastern AHEC’s journey to improve interprofessional collaboration among continuing education departments, which is vital in continuing interprofessional education. The Model for Improvement is being used as the framework to guide their journey.

The Certified Health Coach – Completing the Health Care Team at Cone Health Family Medicine Center – M. Lee Chambliss, Cone Family Medicine Residency Center. Chambliss described how Cone Health found and paid for a Health Coach/Educator to improve their patient care and recertify for patient centered medical home (PCMH).

A Step Forward for Rural and Underserved Communities in North Carolina – Robyn A. Latessa, Mountain AHEC. The inception and first year of the Sarah Graham Kenan Rural and Underserved Medical Scholars Program. Key components and future ideas for expansion of this type of program and its pipeline were discussed.

Medical Spanish Translator for Mobile Devices (Polyglot) – Alicia Gonzalez, Duke AHEC Program. Expanding the idea of technology for education, this presentation described Duke AHEC’s experience in developing and marketing the Polyglot Med Spanish app for smart phones.

CASCE and the Seven Little Apps – Karen Zeliff, Greensboro AHEC. The story of how seven mini-applications were built to live with NC AHEC’s CASCE database; how they have worked together to save time and money for several AHECs; and how they have created new opportunities for mining (of data*).

Leveraging Competitive Advantage in an Ever-Changing Health Care Landscape – Bob Hardyman and Melissa Odom, South East AHEC. When leaders collaborate across boundaries and foster collaboration among their team members, the organization thrives. Productivity increases and decisions are made more efficiently when the silos are broken down. SEAHEC Solutions has successfully fostered an environment of teamwork across disciplinary and organizational lines.