Inaugural LINC Interprofessional Case Competition fosters meaningful student collaborations

Winning team of medical, occupational therapy and physician assistant studies students. From Left to Right: Moshtagh Farokhi, DDS, MPH, associate professor/clinical, School of Dentistry, representative to the LINC Faculty Council, and LINC Interprofessional Case Competition faculty leader; Lydia Kayl and Bridget Farrell, Doctor of Occupational Therapy students; Lynn Chuong, Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies student; Alexis Lorio, Doctor of Medicine student; and Joseph Zorek, PharmD, BCGP, FNAP, LINC director and associate professor in the School of Nursing

Organized through UT Health San Antonio’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Linking Interprofessional Networks for Collaboration (LINC), interprofessional teams of first-year professional and graduate students participated in the university’s inaugural interprofessional case competition during spring 2021. Designed to enhance students’ communication and collaboration skills, this competition challenged students to develop team-based solutions to reduce vaccine hesitancy in South Central Texas. Prize money totaling $5,000 was awarded to the top five place-finishing teams.

The case competition had a positive impact on Benjamin Johnson, a medical student whose team included students from Dentistry and Occupational Therapy, as well as a classmate from the Long School of Medicine. “The most valuable part of the LINC case competition was not the prize, it wasn’t even the fact that we created realistic solutions to the current health crisis, it was the experience of being a team of interprofessional students trying to solve a problem together in a way none of us was accustomed to,” said Johnson.

Aiola Stoja, an Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD student, derived similar value from problem-solving within her team of physician assistant and medical students. “As a lab researcher, working with a diverse interprofessional team gave me new insights into the process of taking my research from bench to bedside,” said Stoja.

Ten teams, each consisting of four students representing at least three educational programs from at least two different schools, signed up to participate. Teams were tasked with developing a 10-page written proposal to reduce vaccine hesitancy through an interprofessional, population health-focused intervention. Six teams advanced to the final round of the competition, which involved an oral presentation to an interprofessional panel of faculty followed by questions and dialogue.

The faculty panel, led by Moshtagh Farokhi, DDS, MPH, associate professor/clinical and School of Dentistry representative to the LINC Faculty Council, included:

  • Lark Ford, PhD, MA, MSN, RN, associate professor/clinical and former School of Nursing representative to the LINC Faculty Council
  • Sean Garcia, MD, FHM, professor/clinical, Long School of Medicine
  • Justina Lipscomb, PharmD, BCPS, clinical assistant professor, College of Pharmacy at UT Austin and adjoint clinical assistant professor, Long School of Medicine
  • Jason Rosenfeld, DrPH, MPH, assistant professor and assistant director of global health, Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics, Long School of Medicine
  • Heidi Worabo, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, associate professor/clinical, School of Nursing

Of her engagement leading the case competition, Farokhi said, “I have had the privilege of facilitating numerous interprofessional education activities, however, navigating challenges related to COVID-19 and the historic Texas winter storm took my involvement with this case competition and student team interactions to another level, which ultimately became a highlight of my teaching career.” She continued, “It was a privilege to facilitate the successful interprofessional teamwork of students, even in a virtual setting, and I anticipate the impact will grow as we move to an in-person format next year.”

2021 Inaugural LINC Interprofessional Case Competition awardees:

First Place, $2000 Award: “Countering Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Hesitancy Among Hispanic Populations in Bexar County”

Bridget Farrell, Doctor of Occupational Therapy student; Lydia Kayl, Doctor of Occupational Therapy student; Lynn Chuong, Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies student; Alexis Lorio, Doctor of Medicine student

Second Place, $1500 Award: “Vaccine Hesitancy”

Kathy Le, Doctor of Medicine student; Maria Ochoa, Master’s in Personalized Molecular Medicine student; Alexis Gonzalez, Doctor of Dental Surgery student; Aimee Barrera, Bachelor of Science in Nursing student

Third Place, $750 Award: “Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy in Bexar County”

Kaivalya Gudooru, Doctor of Medicine student; Samar Dawy, Doctor of Dental Surgery student; Holly Tran, Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology student; Stephanie Elliott, Doctor of Nursing Practice student

Fourth Place, $500 Award: “Vaccine Advocates Program: A Pyramid Scheme”

Benjamin Johnson, Doctor of Medicine student; Lilian Pham, Doctor of Medicine student; Celine Wang, Doctor of Dental Surgery student; Hannah Burks, Doctor of Occupational Therapy student

Fifth Place, $250 Award: “Utilization of Community Health Care Workers to Combat Vaccine Hesitancy in Bexar County”

John Lee, Doctor of Medicine student; Joseph Kim, Doctor of Medicine student; Jimin Kim, Doctor of Dental Surgery student; Nicole Cho, Doctor of Occupational Therapy student

Sixth Place, Honorable Mention Award: “Combatting COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in South Texas: A Population Specific Approach”

Aiola Stoja, Integrated Biomedical Sciences Doctor of Philosophy student; Lauren Langeberg, Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies student; Simren Lakhotia, Doctor of Medicine student; Emily Liu, Doctor of Medicine student

To learn more about LINC, click here.

Read LINC Seed Grant awards support pilot projects to foster innovations in interprofessional education.

Read LINC advances interprofessional education to train health care leaders.



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