Just over a year ago, at a retreat of the DMU Board of Trustees, University President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., asked members a question: In the ever-changing arena of health care, how can DMU continue to enhance clinical training opportunities for students?
“As a university, we want to ensure our students are achieving clinical competency in more standardized experiences,” she says.
Since then, President Franklin has brought together leaders of several health care organizations in central Iowa and beyond to form the Des Moines University Clinical Collaborative. Its goals in supporting training for clinical students include identifying comparable learning experiences for all students across all disciplines; establishing a consistent and sustainable model for clinical teaching; and developing training resources for preceptors.
Collaborative members, which include representatives of Iowa Health-Des Moines, Mercy Medical Center, Broadlawns Medical Center and the Veterans Administration Central Iowa Health Care System, now meet every two to three months with President Franklin, the deans of the three DMU colleges and other University staff to discuss clinical training needs and opportunities.
“I’m pleased the DMU leadership is taking an active and collaborative role in trying to expand the quality and quantity of clinical rotation sites for students in all three DMU colleges,” says Eric Crowell, M.H.A., a DMU trustee and president and chief executive officer of Iowa Health-Des Moines.
Achieving those goals will benefit the patients DMU students go on to serve as well as the state of Iowa.
“We all have a common interest in retaining DMU physician and health program graduates in Iowa,” says Kirk Norris, president and chief executive officer of the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) and a participant in the DMU Clinical Collaborative. “Iowa hospitals and their communities have a significant and growing need for physicians and other clinicians, particularly in rural areas. Providing DMU students with Iowa hospital connections is a win-win as these students make career plans for where they will practice medicine.”
To support that goal, the IHA distributed a survey to the state’s 118 hospitals on their ability to take DMU students on rotations. Survey results are being evaluated for how they compare with the three University deans’ “wish lists” for student training opportunities.
“We’re excited that the collaborative is helping us expand clinical experiences for our students while enabling them to provide health care for Iowans,” President Franklin says.