hCATS to Appalachia: Inaugural Trip Marks College’s First Collaborative Clinical Practice with College of Dentistry

Posted: October 3, 2017

Click here to read an article from the Daily Independent, Ashland's local newspaper.

Students from the University of Kentucky College of Nursing as well as the College of Dentistry are partnering with the Center for Interprofessional Health Education (CIHE) to provide health promotion counseling, health screening and oral health care to hundreds of Appalachian children who do not have access to dental health care through the hCATS (health Colleges Advancing Team Skills) to Appalachia Program.

The World Health Organization (2010) defines interprofessional education (IPE) as students from two or more professions coming together to learn about, from and with each other to enable effective teamwork and improve health outcomes. Today’s complex health care systems require an integrated health care team for effective treatment.

“This multidisciplinary approach will not only allow our IPE students to experience rural health service-learning, but will be invaluable for the overall future health of Kentucky,” says Janie Heath, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN, dean and Warwick Professor of Nursing.

Dr. Heath and Instructor Hartley Feld, MSN, RN, currently serve as co-principal investigators of the program, which is funded by the UK Women & Philanthropy. Working with the “Seal Kentucky” Program, dental students will provide a sealant to prevent tooth decay, while the hCATS for Appalachia students will perform health screenings and provide child-appropriate education activities to promote oral health including how to brush teeth, floss, eat health and avoid tobacco.

The College of Nursing is proud to be an integral part of the UK Interprofessional Education initiative, which trains health care students to understand roles and responsibilities as well as values and ethics of each health team member while at the same time encouraging effective communication skills and competencies to promote teamwork for positive patient care outcomes.

The College will lead the health profession students participating in the UK Center of Interprofessional Health Education (CIHE) curricular program to assist in oral health/logistic care delivery services through the College of Dentistry mobile clinic program – one of the largest education-based children’s dental outreach program in the nation. The mobile clinic serves 40 Kentucky counties and provides care to more than 7,000 children annually.