Communication the focus of conference for health care educators

December 12, 2011

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Participants at the fifth annual Health Care Pathways Conference heard about the importance of effective communication for health care professionals.

Equipping future health professionals with the skills and tools for successful communication was the focus of the annual Health Care Pathways Conference, hosted by the Massachusetts Area Health Education Center (MassAHEC) in November. 

One of numerous events sponsored by MassAHEC to promote workforce development, the conference was developed in response to inquiries from high school health science teachers who were seeking resources to help link educational objectives with career exploration in the health professions.

“This conference supports building new relationships, and leveraging collective assets through collaboration,” said Sharon Grundel, MEd, manager of workforce development for the MassAHEC Network, part of Commonwealth Medicine’s Center for Health Policy and Research. “We share a vision, a common language, and are eager to pool our resources to build-up the healthcare workforce.”

Imagine trying to communicate vital information to a health care provider, and not realizing it was misunderstood, not heard at all, or the underlying issues were never revealed during the patient intake interview? The theme this year addressed this concern, particularly in a climate of increasing language diversity, and concerns over limited English proficiency.

Throughout the day, attendees were actively involved in discussion and networking with each other and vendors who were marketing state-of-the-art educational products and programs. Raffles, books and product giveaways kept everyone engaged, while the MassAHEC Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) booth attracted a crowd seeking information on how to become involved in this newest youth-to-health-careers outreach program.

In its fifth year, the meeting has attracted a broader audience of participants, but the common denominator remains the same—professionals working with high school and college students actively exploring and pursuing the health professions. The conference attracted 120 participants from across the state representing 36 high schools, eight higher educational institutions, six teaching hospitals, five Workforce Investment boards, 14 community-based organizations, state and municipal agencies, and school-to-career partnerships, along with 11 vendors of health education products and technology.

Related link on UMassMedNow:

Health Care Pathways helps teachers prepare students for promising careers