The Mutual Benefits of an Interprofessional Student Organization on Volunteers and Their Community
Louisiana ranked sixth in birth rates among women 15-19 years old in the U.S. in 2016. Louisiana residents ages 15-24 account for 50% of all new STDs while representing only 25% of the state's sexually experienced population. Reproductive health education has been shown to improve reproductive health outcomes. The aims of this study were to improve reproductive health knowledge among adolescents in the New Orleans community and to improve interprofessional collaboration and confidence in discussing reproductive health topics among healthcare students.
Pretests and posttests were administered based on the CDC Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) to evaluate knowledge on CDC Healthy Behavior Outcomes, assessing student knowledge on topics covered in the curriculum. NOARHP volunteers were surveyed on improvement in interprofessional competency based on an edited Interprofessional Collaborative Competencies Attainment Survey (ICCAS) that included questions concerning confidence in discussing reproductive health topics with future patients.
School A improved in test scores by 7.00% (p 0.097) in spring 2014 and 21.29% (p 0.000) in spring 2015, School B improved by 7.06% (p 0.008) in spring 2018 and 18.60% (p 0.000) in spring 2019, School C improved by 11.23% (p 0.000) in fall 2018, and School D improved by 18.09% (p 0.000) in fall 2014. When surveyed, 46% of NOARHP volunteers reported they agreed or strongly agreed with statements indicating that they felt comfortable discussing reproductive health topics with future patients before participating in NOARHP. After participating, 98% of volunteers reported they agreed or strongly agreed. Before participating in NOARHP, 43% of volunteers reported they felt comfortable working with professionals from other health disciplines to discuss reproductive health topics with future patients. After participating, 96% of volunteers reported they agreed or strongly agreed. Before participating in NOARHP, 62% of volunteers reported they agreed or strongly agreed with statements that indicated ability to work on an interprofessional team. After participating, 93% of volunteers reported they agreed or strongly agreed.
All schools that received the NOARHP curriculum improved in reproductive health knowledge. After participating in NOARHP, more volunteers reported feeling confident discussing reproductive health topics with future patients and working on an interprofessional team, especially in the realm of reproductive health.
As an interprofessional student organization, NOARHP improved education and quality of life in its local community while also improving the education of its volunteers by increasing their comfort in discussing reproductive health topics and their confidence in working on an interprofessional team.