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UH Health Science Students Collaborate Together to Address the Needs of Hawaii DOE Students

The University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa Hawaii Interprofessional Education and Collaborative (HIPEC) Alliance is an initiative that was developed to introduce an interprofessionial collaborative practice (IPC) model for school-based health centers (SBHC) in Hawaii. The HIPEC Alliance builds on the well-established partnership between the Hawaii Department of Education’s and the UH Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene’s (SONDH) “Hawaii Keiki – Healthy and Ready to Learn” SBHC program. The Hawaii Keiki program has established nurse practitioners in the 15 school complexes (i.e., districts) in Hawaii to provide on-site services to students with the primary goal of keeping students healthy so they can remain in school and actively engage in learning.

the group poses at a portable classroom

The HIPEC Alliance project is an IPC commitment to health science graduate students by providing an opportunity for family nurse practitioner students from the UHM School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene (SONDH), senior clinical pharmacy students from the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, and child/adolescent fellows from the UHM John A. Burns School of Medicine’s (JABSOM) Department of Psychiatry to practice in a unique community-based site to provide and enhance care to vulnerable groups of school-aged children.  The students, fellows and faculty attend the Hawaii Keiki clinic once a week and work with the Hawaii Keiki nurse practitioner (NP) to address the needs of the children presenting for care.

The health professions students and fellows assess children’s needs as a team and work to develop plans that will be implemented by the Hawaii Keiki NP, the school’s teachers and counselors, including recommendations for referrals to resources in the community. Students and fellows also actively engage in evidence-based reviews and share knowledge and skills unique to their respective professions during debriefings that occur throughout the clinic day. Faculty and the Hawaii Keiki NP supervise the students’ and fellows’ clinical experiences and facilitate their IPE and IPC practice skills.

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The HIPEC Alliance project goals include: 1) Integrating IPE and IPEC concepts and experiences as essential components of the graduate curriculum and clinical practicums for UH CHSSW health professions graduate students. 2) Improving the health of school-aged children by increasing SBHC services to include targeted health promotion and illness prevention programs for the children using an IPC practice team approach. 3) Engaging community health care providers in the IPC SBHC practice initiative.

The pilot site for the HIPEC Alliance IPC practice is Stanford Dole Middle School located in the Kalihi Valley on Oahu.  The school has approximately 800 students, the majority of whom are Native Hawaiian (NH), part NH, and/or Pacific Islander with some students having recently immigrated to our State.

Since the HIPEC Alliance SBHC IPC practice was initiated in August 2017 there has been a substantial increase in referrals from the middle school counselors and teachers for the assessment of children by the IPC team. Feedback from the students and fellows indicates that this IPC practice experience provides a valuable and exciting clinical opportunity. In addition, plans to expand this model to other SBHC sites and other types of clinical programs are underway.

Funding for the HIPEC Alliance Project was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson, Gordon and Betty Moore, John A. Hartford, and Macys Foundations, and the Hawaii State Center for Nursing’s Action Coalition. For more information about the HIPEC Alliance Project, contact principal investigator Dr. Maureen Shannon at or (808) 956-4917.

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