Friday, October 26, 2012

Fantastic Gala 2012

Last night, the Institute’s annual gala  (35th birthday celebration!) was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Boston’s Innovation District, the seaport.  The venue was beautiful.  As always, friends of the IHP filled the room.   Old friends found each other, student scholars were recognized, fantastic staff members made the evening sparkle, there was a lovely dinner.   Even though much of the pattern was the same as in previous years, each gala has a unique story to share or a unique focus.   For last night’s event, several unique features come to mind.

First of all, the key video presentation focused on recent alum Heather Quirk (SON, 2012) and her remarkable story as a young widow, nursing student, parent, and marathon runner.   She represents a uniquely remarkable young woman, who like many of our students and alums have sacrificed and risen above many hurdles to move into their life’s work.    As notable as Heather’s story was her eloquence and graciousness when she thanked those present for their generosity in behalf of all the students who need financial support.  

Second, President Bellack and Board Chair George Thibault praised the start-up of two new academic programs, the MS in Health Professions Education and the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences, both which have launched in the past few months.   In addition, three of our new faculty researchers were present and were honored.  Drs. Lisa Wood, Tiffany Hogan, and Jordan Green will be part of the Institute’s next chapter of successful contribution to health care transformation.  

And then Trustee Ari Buchler announced the opportunity to participate in an auction to raise money to support students.   Long time friend of the Institute, Sumner Brown had challenged those present to increase their donations by indicating he would add to his already generous gift if over $50000 was raised.   The effect was impressive.   In a few minutes, over $90000 was raised to support students at the Institute.   This amount almost tripled the activity of previous years.  Amazing.

As the Institute celebrates its 35th Birthday, it is fantastic that the wonderful event held last night could honor our work, support our students, look forward to new programs and people, and generate significant financial support for our important mission.   I am grateful to be part of such a remarkable institution.

If you happened to miss the gala and would like to see a video about the Institute's legacy of giving, be sure to check it

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another (Baby) Day at The Institute

Oh Baby! Friday, September 27 was another landmark day for the entry level graduate students at the Institute. The Institute’s annual Baby Day was held for the first time at our newest facility at 2 Constitution Center. Started several years ago by great leaders in the Department of Physical Therapy, Baby Day has become a true interprofessional learning adventure for many, many students. Having the new facility allows more babies and more students and faculty to participate.

Baby Day involves inviting parents to bring in infants and toddlers for observation/assessment and interaction with our students in Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology. For many entry level students (most began their studies less than a month ago), this is a first exposure to typical children and their parents. Watching them crawl, talk, roll over, cry, interact with parents, and explore the environment are fundamental features for assessment of health, development, communication, and motor skills.

Dr. Laura Plummer (SHRS, PT) is responsible for the overall organization of the event, which involves over 150 students, faculty, clinical instructors, and plenty of children and their families. The story as I tell it, reads back to me “another nice thing that the IHP does, “ but doesn’t read as “breakthrough or earth shattering.” It is the back story and the experience that gets my attention and I hope you will think about it.

The Institute works hard to create an interprofessional narrative and to talk about the ways that our students can (must?) learn together and that our faculty must learn to teach together and to teach across disciplinary boundaries. Last month we offered the first ever community service day, allowing students to work side by side to help out the neighborhoods closest to our school. This past Friday, walking around the learning spaces at 2 CC, here is what I observed:
  • Interdisciplinary groups of students huddled together in groups of 15 or so, sitting on the floor, and watching faculty members and Clinical Educators interact with little children;

  • Students focused, almost laser focused, on observing, documenting, and clarifying what they were learning in a completely safe, IPE environment;

  • Faculty members giving up a Friday morning to provide an integrated learning experience for students from all of our programs;

  • These same faculty members teaching students by asking for observations and interpretations;

  • Most impressive, faculty members from one discipline, informing students from other programs about key observations that they make for purposes of referral or enhancing their own practice.

  • Happy parents watching their child interact with a group of remarkable students; and gaining confidence in the next generation of providers of care.
Baby Day was a great day. It was fun and rewarding to see the activities, the teaching, and the learning that was being accomplished in this most impressive space. Our graduate students at the Institute are experiencing a truly remarkable opportunity and this will continue to expand and grow.

Opportunities such as Baby Day, the Community Service Day, and our upcoming Interdisciplinary Lecture occur because faculty leaders choose to go the extra mile to make vital learning work well at the IHP. All I can say is THANK YOU to Anne and to all who made this happen. And also I say, “Oh Baby.”