Law school hosts interprofessional workshop on health disparities


Participants in the half-day workshop on integrated care were (left to right) Takisha LaShore; Joy Ernst; Albert Asciutto; Kathryn Smolinski; Nancy George; Stephanie Yan Xuan; Lance Gable; and Kirstie Magyari.

– Photo courtesy of Wayne Law

Twenty Wayne State University students attended a half-day, interprofessional workshop on health disparities on Friday, Feb. 10, at Wayne Law.

The event, “Integrated Care: Graduate Students Understanding Healthcare Professionals’ Roles, Responsibilities, and Philosophies to Impact Better Health Outcomes Together” gathered students and leaders from Wayne Law, WSU’s College of Nursing, and School of Social Work. The workshop was the culmination of five months of planning between the three schools and aimed to develop a network of professionals committed to strengthening the overall health and well-being of the people they serve.

Event organizers were second-year Wayne Law students Albert Asciutto of Waterford and Kirstie Magyari of Brighton, and Stephanie Yan Xuan of Windsor, a master of social work student. In planning the event, they worked closely with Joy Ernst, associate dean for academic affairs for the School of Social Work; Assistant (Clinical) Professor Kathryn Smolinski, director of Wayne Law’s Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic; and Dr. April Vallerand, associate dean for research and director of the Ph.D. program for the College of Nursing.

“I loved being able to plan this workshop from the beginning to end,” said Xuan. “Working at the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic, we see clients with all kinds of needs. Al and Kirstie had this brilliant idea of bringing students from different schools together to bridge the gaps in service and brought me on board. Interprofessional collaboration is something I don’t see enough of in my current curriculum and I’m so glad to be able to have the opportunity to be proactive in my education.”

Speaking at the event were Wayne Law Interim Dean Lance Gable; Dr. Nancy George, associate professor (clinical) for the WSU College of Nursing; Dr. Takisha LaShore, lecturer for the WSU School of Social Work; and Smolinski.

Following the formal remarks, participants were divided into small groups with at least one student from each discipline and were required to interview a mock client. The day concluded with a group discussion on how students felt about integrated healthcare and whether their perceptions about the other professions had changed throughout the course of the day.

“I could not have been more pleased at the success of the event,” said Smolinski. “My advanced clinic law students really embraced the holistic model of healthcare that embodies a medical-legal partnership and wanted to learn and teach alongside other healthcare students the role each provider brings to improving quality of life for patients. They succeeded in every way
possible.” Smolinski earned her master of social work from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Wayne Law.