An interprofessional group of students, faculty, professional staff, and community members gathered virtually back in December for a facilitated discussion on best practices for telehealth and telecollaboration methods across regions and disciplines.
The event, “Telecollaboration: Best Practices for Teams,” sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education (CECE) at the University of New England, drew medical and mental health experts from across the region for the purposes of discussing telehealth practice and how to best incorporate its use in cross-disciplinary digital environments.
Shelley Cohen Konrad, Ph.D., LCSW, FNAP, Director of CECE and the School of Social Work, said the goal of the session was to prepare participants with the background and skills to participate in simulated and future practice using telehealth and telecollaboration methods.
“In my experience, many patients are feeling alone and isolated right now,” said Christine Quong (M.S.W., ’21), who is currently completing a geriatric psychiatry internship. “I think being available through telehealth provides more access for patients and allows them to partake on their end, especially since many older adults have fears of leaving their homes. This gives them a way to feel safe.”
More on Christine:
Christine is will graduate with her MSW in 2021 along with a Certificate in Training in Aging and Diversity (TRIAD). Students receive a $10,000 stipend as part of the TRIAD Certificate (open to ON-CAMPUS students only). The certificate was developed out of grant funding and is a training-in-place program for graduate-level clinical social work students, designed and led by UNE’s School of Social Work. TRIAD will reach people of all ages, but its primary population focus is Maine’s older adults. The primary objective is to increase knowledge about the behavioral health needs of diverse older adults throughout Maine and creating new solutions to meeting these needs.
Christine did her foundation year field placement at the State of Maine Department of Labor’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services and is doing her specialization year placement at a TRIAD’s clinically approved site: Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic at Maine Medical Center.
A brief interview with Christine:
Why did you choose Social Work?
I chose social work because I think it is important to be able to provide resources to and advocate for underprivileged groups. There is a lot of work to do to address the systemic marginalization of vulnerable populations and to combat the stigma they experience.
What have been your favorite/most inspiring aspects of the program?
I’ve been most inspired by the individual work I’ve been able to do through my field placements. I have been able to practice the theories I’ve learned in classes to help make an impact on peoples’ lives.
How are you using Telehealth now?
I use Telehealth regularly for my one on one therapy sessions over zoom.
What are the benefits you see?
Telehealth creates accessibility to individuals in rural areas. Especially during the pandemic, it can provide flexibility in accessing the care they need.
Do you see yourself using this in the future?
Yes, I absolutely see this as an option in the future, especially for rural and geriatric populations. If anything, the pandemic has taught us how accessible, effective, and safe telehealth can be.
What are the drawbacks (if any)?
It has the potential to be impersonal/dehumanizing. I think it also makes it easier for individuals to cancel telehealth sessions, and the technology can be difficult for some who are not tech-savvy
What do you want to do when you graduate?
I’d like to continue my education. I feel I have only begun to scratch the surface. This program has taught me just how little I know and how much more is out there to learn!
What advice would you give to incoming students?
Get as much as you can out of each class and your field placements as possible. The program goes by much more quickly than you think. Diversify your experiences and gain as much knowledge as you can, but realize that the real experience comes from fieldwork!
VISIT ARCHIVED POST WHY UNE? TO HEAR MORE ABOUT WHY CHRISTINE CHOSE UNE’S PROGRAM
Featured Image by Kim Ryu of NYT