October 23, 2009

Clinical case competition unites VU, Meharry students

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Vanderbilt medical student Sara Tedeschi speaks during the recent Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance Interdisciplinary Clinical Case Competition. (Photo by Mary Donaldson)

Clinical case competition unites VU, Meharry students

The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance recently held its first Interdisciplinary Clinical Case Competition, which highlighted the importance of appreciating the various disciplines that often come together to provide a team approach to patient care.

Three teams of students from eight disciplines were challenged to solve a complex, simulated clinical case involving a 16-year-old homeless teen found with lacerations and a large contusion to the head. She was also in a confused state with no memory of her injuries.

Scoring was evenly spread over four rounds. Each team was allotted time with the “patient” to perform physical exams and labs.

The final round of the competition allowed the teams to publicly present their case summation to a panel of faculty judges.

“This first interdisciplinary Clinical Case Competition exceeded our expectations,” said Clifton Meador, M.D., executive director of the Alliance. “Each student team did a remarkable job identifying the problems and choosing the most appropriate solutions. The teamwork exhibited by the eight disciplines was remarkable, making the selection of a winning team a difficult task.”

The ICCC was modeled after a longstanding event held at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston. The Alliance hopes to host the competition every year to serve as a real-world experience for how health care issues can be addressed from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Students represented disciplines from medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, nutrition/dietary, public health, law and social work. Although the competition was primarily comprised of students and faculty from schools representing the Alliance, the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy and Graduate Social Work were also represented.

“I was humbled by the limitation of what I could do for the patient,” said Irving Ye, a Vanderbilt University School of Medicine student and co-captain of the winning team.

“It was interesting how we all came together to provide for her general well-being. I had limited experience with some of her needs, and other members of my team specialized in those areas.”

Jason Sexton, a Vanderbilt Law student and member of the winning team, found the experience worthwhile.

“In the legal profession, we are very compartmentalized, and to see such cohesiveness and interaction on all these levels was great,” said Sexton. “I could easily get used to working with others from other disciplines.”