UNC’s second-place CLARION team

An interprofessional group of UNC-Chapel Hill health professional students secured second place at the annual CLARION National Case Competition in Minneapolis.

Third-year Pharm.D. student Christine Ko of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy was part of the UNC team, along with Natalie Browne of the Gillings School of Global Public Health, Uzma Khan of the Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program at the School of Medicine, and Monica Kim of the School of Dentistry.

The competition was held at the University of Minnesota on April 13. It was organized by CLARION, a University of Minnesota student organization dedicated to improving health care through interprofessional collaboration.

Since 2005, students from across the nation participate in an annual case competition that aims to achieve a holistic perspective on patient safety and healthcare improvements.

Each year, students are presented with a case that requires teams to perform a root cause analysis and develop an intervention that specifically addresses a certain problem. This year, teams were tasked to address the rise of homelessness in Hennepin County, Minnesota, and their resulting poor health outcomes.

Christine Ko

The UNC-Chapel Hill team assessed county-level data along with homelessness case studies and identified that chronic unmet health issues, met with a bottlenecked system for accessing resources, exacerbate many preventable and treatable conditions. Though the current system created a variety of spaces that offer helpful resources, there was insufficient coordination in connecting people with those resources.

To address these needs, the UNC team created an innovative, feasible and sustainable solution called The Labre Project. The Labre Project proposes meeting individuals where they are by streamlining resources with two types of kiosks throughout the city of Minneapolis.

The kiosk model meets two major needs: connecting clients to nearby resources that best fit their most desired needs, and reducing the bottleneck of healthcare services such as chronic care management, oral health screenings, and mental health services.

UNC’s team placed second among the 17 participating teams, behind only the University of Illinois at Chicago. Texas A&M University placed third.

Ko said the competition affirmed her passion for interdisciplinary collaboration.

“Preparing for the CLARION competition challenged me to think in ways that I had not yet explored within my Pharm.D. coursework,” she said. “I was initially unsure how my pharmacy background could help formulate a solution to address the monstrous problem of homelessness, but my team and I quickly realized how vital utilizing each member’s skills and expertise would be if we wanted to find success.”

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