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Health Policy Summit 

Health Policy summits are organized based on Michaelson et al.’s (2002) Team-Based Learning (TBL), a teaching model designed to go beyond covering content to include practicing concepts and solving problems through small-group interaction. Students first receive information about a health care issue or hot topic, either at the state or federal policy level, through the HPC website in advance. On the day of the summit, students are divided into teams based on experience with policy advocacy and discipline, take an Individual Readiness Test (IRAT), and discuss the group’s answers with faculty members. We use that as a teachable moment. We talk about their answers and about the current situation as it stands. 

Following the IRAT tests and discussion, the interprofessional teams participate in an exercise of problem solving. For example, in past years Medicaid expansion was a politically charged issue in Virginia resulting in 400,000 Virginians that were uninsured, and students would work on a ‘Mind the Gap’ exercise, where they developed alternative plans for helping those impacted by the Medicaid gap.

Teams work on a federal or state ‘hot’ issue, develop potential solutions, and then create posters to detail their proposals. Student vote on the top three plans. Legislators have the opportunity to observe group ideas through a ‘gallery walk’ of the various poster proposals, and the top three teams present their plans in full. There are some excellent proposals and the invited legislators are interested, often requesting transcripts from the top proposals. 

The Health Policy Summit provides students the chance to learn how to work in an interprofessional group, advocate for their practice, gain perspective of other professions, and communicate with and build rapport with legislators. HPC plans to continue hosting these summits annually, focusing on a number of different policy debates at the federal and state level. This is a great opportunity for students to link advocacy with civic engagement.”

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