Interprofessional Care of Veterans

Dec 6, 2018

iPALS program looks at how healthcare teams can meet the unique needs of veterans.

Instead of ducking out for the last rays of Friday afternoon sun in November, more than 130 dedicated UW graduate Health Sciences students participated in the second iPALS (Interprofessional Active Learning Session) of the 18-19 school year: Interprofessional Care of Veterans. The two-hour active learning session provided opportunity for students to learn from VA health care providers from various professions, to hear from veteran students, and to participate in an interactive case discussion in small interprofessional break-out groups.

Drs. Stephen Hunt and Joyce Wipf, from the VA, provided background and content related to caring for veterans. Then, students heard from a panel comprised of student veterans and VA health care providers.  Student veterans on the panel included Bill Rist (MEDEX/Physician Assistant) and Kathy Currie (Pharmacy). Other panelists included Dr. Craig Santerre, a psychologist who leads a team that provides mental and behavioral healthcare to veterans in a primary care setting; Angelica Leybag, a nurse practitioner with the Primary Care Center for Excellence Nurse Practitioner Residency Program; and Kathryn McCanna, a Pharmacy resident. The group discussed the unique healthcare needs of veterans and how military culture affects their health and healthcare. Each panel member took a few minutes to speak about their experiences, either as a veteran receiving care from an interprofessional team or as a healthcare professional providing care for veterans as part of an interprofessional team.

An interprofessional case discussion followed the panel. Students were pre-assigned to small interprofessional teams, where they discussed one of three cases. Students discussed how their professional perspectives affected their priorities and care plan recommendations as well as how those may have differed between different professions. Each team was asked to prioritize their top three recommendations and identify any other health professionals who may need to be added to their patient’s care team. This year, a record number of 15 VA providers joined the iPALS session as facilitators and content-experts.

Students appreciated the session and the opportunity to learn together!  

  • “I truly appreciate these interdisciplinary sessions. They’ve proven to be some of the most fascinating and illuminating experiences of my time here at UW.” (Physician Assistant Student)
  • “I appreciated being able to consult in person with other professionals when we have so few opportunities to do so.”  (Social Work Student)
  • “This was a great session! I really appreciate the topic and care that people took with the subject as a veteran.” (Dietetics Student)

The next iPALS event, A One Health Clinic for Persons Experiencing Homelessness with their Animals, will be held on Friday, January 25, 2019 from 10:30am-12:20pm.  For more information or to register for this event, please contact Rachel Lazzar: