January 4, 2018

Dean’s Society Grants Support College’s Missions

Ahmad Alanazi

For graduate student Ahmad A. Alanazi, Au.D., Ph.D., a Dean’s Society grant allowed him to focus more on his audiology research and less on obtaining outside funding to complete his work.

For Erna Boone, Dr.PH., RRT, associate professor and chair of the Respiratory Care program, a Dean’s Society grant allowed her and faculty from other College of Health Professions departments, as well as other UAMS colleges, to work together to improve an interprofessional course.

Both Alanazi and Boone benefitted from the Dean’s Society, a group of College of Health Professions donors whose contributions support the college’s educational, research and service missions.

The Dean’s Society funds interprofessional projects in three essential areas for the college:

  • Service-Learning and Community Engagement
  • Teaching and Learning Innovations
  • Research

A dual doctoral student in audiology and communication sciences and disorders who graduated in May 2017 and is now an assistant professor at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Alanazi received two grants from the Dean’s Society, totaling more than $6,000.

His research focused on using simulation — both an infant simulator and standardized patients as parents — to teach students how to conduct hearing screenings on infants, how to make a hearing diagnosis and counsel parents whose child has an identified hearing loss, and finally, how to fit an amplification device on a baby.

“When you do a hearing screening and discover the child has a hearing loss, then you have to communicate the bad news to the parents and guide them through the process so that the child can get the necessary treatment,” said Alanazi.

Simulation has been used very rarely in audiology and speech pathology, said Alanazi. However, it is a wonderful tool for teaching audiology students.

“Simulation won’t take the place of real clinical practice, but it prepares students to be ready to go out and work with real patients,” he said.

Alanazi worked on his research with several faculty members, including his mentor, Nannette Nicholson, Ph.D.; Samuel Atcherson, Ph.D.; Clifford Franklin, Ph.D.; Mike Anders, Ph.D.; Naveen Nagaraj, Ph.D.; Jennifer Franklin, Au.D.; Pat Highley, Au.D., and Laura Smith-Olinde, Ph.D.

His studies have been published in the American Journal of Audiology, the Journal of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, the Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, and the Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

Erna Boone

Boone applied for her nearly $5,000 grant with two colleagues in the College of Health Professions — Tonya Cook, M.Ed., Department of Respiratory and Surgical Technologies, and Mitzi Efurd, Ed.D., Department of Dental Hygiene — as well as with Kelly Betts, Ph.D., from the College of Nursing, and Kathryn Neill, Pharm.D., from the College of Pharmacy.

Their goal was to enhance a one-credit hour interprofessional course that was focused on patient- and family-centered care. The funds allowed Boone and the other faculty members to purchase time from standardized patients to run a simulation in which students had to tell family members about a medical error that had occurred.

“Through the simulation, students were taught to offer a genuine apology to the family, give an explanation of what was known about the situation, promise to keep the patient and family apprised of the investigation and offer reassurance that safeguards would be put in place to keep the error from happening again,” said Boone.

Forty-seven students from dental hygiene, respiratory care and the College of Nursing took the course, while another seven students from the Colleges of Pharmacy and Public Health joined for the simulation portion of the class, which fulfilled requirements for the required Triple Aim Interprofessional Education Curriculum.

The course had 14 facilitators representing the Colleges of Health Professions, Nursing and Pharmacy, as well as three patient advisers.

“One of the things that makes this course so unique is our use of patient advisers as educators,” said Boone. “These advisers really bring in the patient- and family-centered care aspect because they’ve lived it.”

For Boone, being a part of an interprofessional facilitator team was a “joyous experience.”

“I really can’t thank Dean Murphy enough for his support of interprofessional education,” Boone said. “He made it a priority from the moment he stepped on the UAMS campus, and we are a better college for it.”