A diverse partnership for a difficult disease

Mary Beth Scholand, M.D., presented at DMU Grand Rounds through a partnership between DMU CME and the France Foundation.
Mary Beth Scholand, M.D., presented at DMU Grand Rounds on February 4 through a partnership between DMU CME and the France Foundation.

Des Moines University Continuing Medical Education was recently awarded a grant from the The France Foundation to provide the educational program, PILOT (Pulmonary Fibrosis Identification: Lessons for Optimizing Treatment). The grant was part of a national initiative designed to provide physicians with a comprehensive CME activity that focuses on the early and accurate diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) while also addressing critical issues related to optimizing disease intervention and management.

On February 4, Jeffrey Gray, Ph.D., vice president for research, welcomed Mary Beth Scholand, M.D., from the University of Utah to speak at DMU Grand Rounds, a monthly CME activity. Scholand is an associate professor in pulmonary medicine, and her clinical interest is interstitial lung disease, including IPF. Additionally, she is currently conducting research trials focused on developing a cure for the disease.

“With the assistance of the DMU Office of Research, the CME program was fortunate to receive this grant which allowed us to bring Dr. Scholand to campus,” said Vanessa Ross, M.H.A., director of continuing medical education. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our staff and students to hear directly from a nationally-known physician.”

IPF is a debilitating and almost unvaryingly fatal illness with a survival time of three to five years. It is a form of chronic, progressive fibrosing interstitial pneumonia where early and accurate diagnosis is critical. Patients suffer difficulty breathing and dry cough — symptoms that may easily be dismissed or overlooked by health care providers. With a variety of medications and treatment modalities geared toward the management of IPF, educational gaps have appeared in the knowledge and effectiveness of health care providers in treating the disease.

Participants at the February 4 activity were given pre- and post-tests, among other resources, to gauge their learning and provide additional insight to the educational needs of professionals working with the IPF population. The partnership between DMU and The France Foundation aligns with the CME mission and helped to improve patient care and provide beneficial information to assist physicians at the bedside.