Approximately 300 students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis will benefit from a five-year initiative and a $2.49 million Primary Care Training Enhancement grant from Health Resources and Services Administration to improve primary care education and training.
The grant will fund a new five-year initiative known as SPLICE — System-transforming, Patient-centered Longitudinal Interprofessional Community-based Education.
During this five-year initiative, the UC Davis faculty will develop, test and disseminate a community-based, collaborative, primary care practice model that improves the patient experience, advances population health, reduces costs and enhances provider well-being with two community partners —the Sacramento County Health Clinic and CommuniCare, according to Rebecca Badeaux, director for strategic communications at UC Davis.
“While SPLICE is a new initiative, the concept of interprofessional education in order to better serve a diverse community lies at the core of health sciences education at UC Davis,” said Badeaux, adding that for several years, educators have researched best practices that effectively educate the next generation of leaders in medicine, nursing, health informatics, public health and biomedical research using interprofessional approaches, as well as developing interprofessional core curriculum and education experiences.
However, Badeaux said, “This will be the first ‘practice’ environment in which we can actually implement and study interprofessional collaborative care specifically focused on the underserved.”
The curriculum of the SPLICE initiative is for physician assistant and nurse practitioner students from the School of Nursing, along with residents and students in the School of Medicine Departments of Internal Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, Pediatrics and Pharmacy.
“We want to engage teams of students in clinical learning, focused on effective teamwork, care coordination and patient-centered, culturally relevant care,” said Debra Bakerjian, associate adjunct professor at the School of Nursing and principal investigator.
The Primary Care Training and Enhancement program aims to strengthen the primary care workforce by supporting enhanced training for future primary care clinicians, teachers and researchers and promoting primary care practice in rural and underserved areas.
“Like a rope being woven together, this initiative will transform and strengthen primary care practice by splicing the assets of distinct professional education programs into a highly scalable, replicable practice model,” Bakerjian said.
The schools ultimately hope to engage almost 300 students over the 5-year time frame, said Badeaux, adding that the teams of students will be providing clinical care to patients in the Sacramento County Health Clinic and CommuniCare, “using our unique model of teams.”
“Training programs like this are crucial to exposing future clinicians to the primary care environment in hopes they will choose a career to serve as the first contact and principal point of continuing care for people,” said Marcia Jo, program manager for Sacramento County Primary Health.
The SPLICE model aims to help address the shortage of health professionals in the Sacramento region and ensure UC Davis graduates are ready to practice using the newest models of care.
The Sacramento County Clinic has 5,000 patients, with 50,000 visits annually; while CommuniCare has approximately 23,500 patients and 112,000 visits annually, Badeaux said, adding that UC Davis has a long-standing relationship with the Sacramento County Health Clinic and CommuniCare with the goal to reduce health disparities and increase the number of primary-care providers in underserved communities.
According to Badeaux, the ultimate goal is to create a sustainable and replicable program, one that includes a robust evaluation plan to measure students, faculty and patient satisfaction and outcomes. Students will also incorporate a strong quality improvement and patient safety program component into the overall program.
“SPLICE emphasizes team-based care, interprofessional education and a shift toward transforming health systems that truly are patient-centered,” said Tonya Fancher, associate dean for Workforce Innovation and Community Engagement at the School of Medicine and co-principal investigator.