Interprofessional 2018 MLK Health Sciences Symposium

IPE student leaders had extra discussion time with the keynote speaker, Dr. Adewale Troutman.

Health equity was the main focus of the 28th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Sciences Symposium at University of Michigan, commemorating the life and legacy of the civil rights leader.More than 300 health professionals, students, and staff gathered January 15 for the event hosted this year by the Michigan Medicine Office of Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI). It was co-sponsored by a number of the U-M health sciences units — including the School of Dentistry, School of Kinesiology, Medical School, College of Pharmacy, School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Social Work, Michigan Institute for Clinical Health Research, and Michigan Medicine.

“Starting here, starting now, you too can change the world–make that a core belief for all that you do,” said Dr. Adewale Troutman, a renowned social justice advocate, in his keynote presentation. Read coverage of his talk and see photos.

After his talk, Dr. Troutman stayed on for a small-group discussion with interprofessional student leaders from across the health science schools. And students showed that they heard, loud and clear, his message of advocating for health in every policy.

Students asked where to advocate for change, what types of data and evidence to bring, and how to best engage and mobilize the community. Dr. Troutman encouraged students to practice in their respective areas of expertise while keeping in mind a public health perspective–and understanding that sometimes that means stepping out of the clinic to mobilize a team to address “upstream” problems to prevent issues before they even present in a clinical setting. He also pushed students to understand the expertise and roles of other health professionals, and then know who to turn to when it is time to mobilize a team.

“The discussion emphasized the need for health care professionals to go beyond their traditional, siloed approaches of providing care to individuals,” said Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education Assistant Director Vani Patterson. “Instead, we need to work together to advocate for policy changes that will create a more equitable, healthy environment for all. No one can do this alone and each health professional brings a different perspective and strength to the change movement.”