How Arizona State University is Encouraging Students to Push Boundaries & Transform Health

ASU - KeithLindor

I was pleased to learn that Keith Lindor, M.D., executive vice provost and dean of the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University (ASU) would be part of a panel at this year’s Mayo Clinic Transform Symposium.  The panel, moderated by Bill Drenttel, will be taking on the tough question - “How is Education Transforming Health Care?” When asked that question, here is what Dr. Lindor shared:

”There are several forces driving much needed change to our health system.  New policies, incentives and people’s expectations will inform and influence how we deliver health going forward. Current, cutting-edge education is a must for preparing college graduates to become doctors and other health professionals. As such, we need to think differently when it comes to education. As educators, we must take a holistic approach to the changing scope of the health industry. We need to encourage students to think critically and not only investigate and respond to trends, but to anticipate them and invent new processes to improve health outcomes and lower costs.

One of the greatest trends is the movement away from the traditional delivery model of health care itself. I envision a model in which physicians are working more closely with highly trained people in nursing, nutrition, exercise and wellness, behavioral health, and other backgrounds to help people lead healthier lifestyles. Health will also be delivered in less traditional settings such as the home, workplace, schools, and communities; not just hospitals and clinics.

Health is not health care. We need to transition from treating people only when they are sick toward keeping people from getting sick in the first place. This is the dynamic context from which we must teach future health professionals to lead change in their organizations and succeed in any environment.”

During my interview with Dr. Lindor, I also learned that the education ASU students are receiving is one that is suffused in ‘social embeddedness’.  This is education and experience that takes the students into the heart of the community where the greatest needs exist.

A prime example is the student-run, interprofessional team of volunteers that will soon operate a free clinic called SHOW - Student Health Outreach for Wellness.  This collaborative effort by ASU with Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona has a united mission to provide health care for those experiencing homelessness in their community. Here, students, faculty and volunteers from diverse backgrounds strive to overcome socioeconomic barriers and bring well-being by promoting health, education and social outreach.  While the clients are first and foremost receiving safe and accessible care that will aid in minimizing health disparities, the students are immersed in collaborative, team-based training with hands-on experience.

ASU has provided health services to the public since 1977 through primary health care, mental/psychiatric health, and community outreach.  Its faculty of innovative, cross-disciplinary thinkers continually encourages students to push boundaries to deliver health in relevant and transformative ways.