Charley Jo Cross, OTS; Erin Franzen, OTS; Raheleh Tschoepe, MS, OTR/L; Julie Eyster, OTS; Karen Edwards, OTS
Charley Jo Cross, OTS; Erin Franzen, OTS; Raheleh Tschoepe, MS, OTR/L; Julie Eyster, OTS; Karen Edwards, OTS

The UNC Rural Interprofessional Health Initiative (RIPHI) is a three-year pilot program supported by a $1.5 million award from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. This award provides faculty and programmatic support that enables UNC health professions students to serve and learn in underserved rural clinic settings in North Carolina. Goals of the project are to inspire a rural health care workforce, to help transform clinical care in underserved areas, and to establish interprofessional clinical experiences in rural areas of North Carolina.

Assistant Professor Raheleh Tschope, MS, OTR/L is the occupational therapy Faculty Champion. Meg Zomorodi, PhD, RN, CNL, leads the UNC RIPHI Faculty Champions at each of the UNC Health Affairs Schools. The four students who participated this year are 2018 graduates of the MS program.

Student Perspective:

In the fall of 2017, we took a course about interprofessional population health where interprofessional student teams engaged in case-based learning. This course expanded our ability to engage with other disciplines that may be unfamiliar with OT which in turn taught us more about our roles. This spring, we applied our fall coursework as we conducted quality improvement projects in interprofessional student teams in six health care sites across four North Carolina counties. This experience allowed us to gain a community-based population health perspective and better understand how OT contributes to population health alongside other disciplines. The RIPHI program was a great adjunct to our OT coursework and the takeaways will carry with us beyond this learning experience and into practice.