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Learning Resources

Explore the pilot projects of the IDD Health Equity Consortium.

Rush University Pilot Project, Fall 2022

Interprofessional student teams representing two or more health care professions will partner with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their direct service providers and caregivers in an advanced service learning course during the fall semester of 2022. This will build on existing coursework to ensure students have prior experience working in interprofessional teams and conducting telehealth appointments. In addition to traditional didactic content, the students will participate in a collaborative interprofessional community experience. The student teams will partner with Ada S. McKinley Community Services, a local community-based organization with sites in Chicago, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Over three telehealth sessions, the team of students and individuals with IDD, with the support of a staff person from Ada S. McKinley, will develop and pursue measurable wellness goals. Over the course of 10 weeks, students complete weekly team reflections on their learning activities, which are designed to meet IPEC competencies. Weekly modules include content on communication strategies, the social model of disability, health promotion, and bias against people with disabilities.

University of Illinois-Chicago Pilot, Fall 2022

The College of Nursing, College of Dentistry, College of Pharmacy, and the Co-Operative Career Experience Certificate program (Co-Op Program) in the Department of Disability and Human Development (DHD) at the University of Illinois Chicago in the Interprofessional Practice and Education (IPE) are collaborating on a pilot program involving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) serving as Standardized Patients (SPs). 

The goal of the project is to build student knowledge and confidence in treating individuals with IDD as members of a collaborative healthcare team and to give a voice to individuals with IDD so they can contribute to the training of the next generation of healthcare professionals. The program was launched in the M. Christine Schwartz Experiential Learning & Simulation Laboratory at UIC’s College of Nursing and includes interactive, outpatient, primary care scenarios to engage students in an interprofessional experience in providing treatment for individuals with disabilities. 

SPs completed three workshops with extensive training by a Medical Simulation Specialist and Acting Technique Teacher and Coach to develop clinical and communication skills as Standardized Patients to portray a variety of patient scenarios (Eppich & Cheng, 2015). The PEARLS debriefing tool is designed to facilitate the implementation of the new framework. The PEARLS framework integrates 3 common educational strategies used during debriefing, namely, (1) learner self-assessment, (2) facilitating focused discussion, and (3) providing information in the form of directive feedback and/or teaching. The PEARLS debriefing tool incorporates scripted language to guide the debriefing, depending on the strategy chosen. The Promoting Excellence and Reflective Learning in Simulation (PEARLS) framework was used with a debriefing script to facilitate (1) learner self-assessment, (2) focused discussion, and (3) directive feedback and/or teaching. The structured framework of PEARLS is adaptable for debriefing simulations with a variety of goals, such as clinical decision-making, improving technical skills, teamwork training, and interprofessional collaboration. During each debriefing, SPs provided feedback to the interprofessional team regarding the interaction, along with its value, especially regarding the treatment of patients with disabilities to achieve equitable healthcare treatment and improved health outcomes. 

All simulated encounters incorporated an opportunity for SPs to debrief and process any previous trauma triggered by the interprofessional simulation experience. SPs were recruited from the DHD Co-Op program at UIC, which supports students with IDD to achieve competitive careers in the community. Standardized Patients were also recruited among actors in the Chicago area disability community. The scenario scripts were created collaboratively with input from people with disability and faculty in nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and DHD. The Interprofessional Education Collaborative Competency Self Efficacy Tools 27 (IPECC-SET27) (Kottorp et al., 2019) item ratings were used to capture the level of self-efficacy (the belief in the ability to perform a specific task) for interprofessional collaborative practice (ICP) among each of the health professions students learners in nursing, dentistry, and pharmacy.

St. John Fisher University/University of Minnesota Pilot Project, Spring 2023

The Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing at Fisher created an online Interprofessional Competency-Based IDD Core Curriculum (ICC-IDD) in partnership with Special Olympics International for use by the IDD workforce. Subject matter experts from the University of Rochester, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Daemen University, and the University of Minnesota contributed content. The flexible curriculum introduces the target audience to the field of neurodiversity and can be used as a standalone offering or as part of an orientation program or professional development activity. The ICC-IDD program can also be used in higher education as a scaffold for a credit-bearing course, as part of a service-learning project in a community-based organization, or through integration (of one or more of the content modules) into an existing course where appropriate. The program features an optional internship that provides students with an additional learning experience. The project will be piloted and evaluated at five academic institutions, including Daemen University; the University of California, Davis; the University of Minnesota, South East Technological Institute (Waterford, Ireland); and Rush University in spring 2023. 

Villanova University Pilot Project, Spring 2023

Interprofessional student teams from Villanova University’s College of Nursing and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia will partner with people with IDD and their caregivers in a real-time or virtual simulation. 

The interprofessional education (IPE) experience will be part of a senior-level course, Practicum in Health Promotion & Home Health in the Community, offered to Villanova students during the spring semester. During the course, teams of nursing students will collaborate with students majoring in health professions at tSt. Joseph’s University (including students in occupational and physical therapy, physician assistant, pharmacy, and pre-medicine programs), and individuals with IDD and their caregivers. Prior to participating in the IPE experience, students will have completed assignments and experiences designed to increase their knowledge and skill in interacting with individuals with IDD. 

An advisory committee of people with IDD, family members, and disability advocates will assist the project team in planning, developing, and assessing materials and activities to ensure that they are appropriate, respectful, and sensitive to the needs of the IDD community.