Clinical associate professor Meg Zomorodi, PhD, RN, CNL, is one of six health professionals from across the country selected to be a 2014 Macy Faculty Scholar. The program, supported by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, aims to identify and nurture the careers of educational innovators in medicine and nursing.
Each medical and nursing institution in the United States is allowed to nominate only one faculty member per year. Dr. Zomorodi was selected from a national pool of 91 medical and nursing educators. She was chosen due to her accomplishments as an educator, researcher, and director of the SON’s Clinical Nurse Leader program.
The two-year program will provide her with professional development opportunities and $100,000 to support her salary while she pursues an education reform project. Dr. Zomorodi plans to dedicate her time developing an interprofessional certificate curriculum for population health management at UNC-Chapel Hill. She will pursue the project under the mentorship of Thelma M. Ingles Professor of Nursing Marilyn Oermann, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, from the Duke University School of Nursing.
Having noticed that her undergraduate nursing students would depart patients’ rooms any time a physician would enter, Dr. Zomorodi realized that many opportunities for collaboration between the healthcare team were being missed. She sought to address this problem by implementing a teaching session in her leadership course for undergraduates that brought them together with physicians from area hospitals to work on completing case studies. By the end of the session, both the students and the physicians expressed a desire to have more experiences collaborating on patient care.
“This needs to be the norm and not the exception,” Dr. Zomorodi said. “It is my desire to see a culture change where not only students and nurses feel comfortable working closely with the physicians, but that physicians also ask for nurses to be present in the care. The philosophy of teaching where professions are in silos and collaboration is rare is outdated.”
Dr. Zomorodi plans to develop the certificate program in collaboration with a team of UNC professionals from nursing, medicine, pharmacy, public health, social work, and dentistry. She will work closely with Dr. Bob Gianforcaro, Executive Medical Director of the UNC Physicians Network. The curriculum will incorporate elements of QSEN and IPEC competencies as well as a strong emphasis on teamwork and the roles each profession plays in a health care team. Dr. Zomorodi anticipates the certificate will include three courses along with interprofessional clinical experiences.
“This interprofessional certificate program has the potential to have a large impact on health care education at UNC,” Dr. Zomorodi said. “I truly believe that now is the time to demand a reform of our educational system. As a Macy Scholar, I have an opportunity to build the relationships needed to make this program a success.”