Sister Nancy Linenkugel likes to be first. After all, the Health Services Administration program she leads at Xavier University and its faculty have been tapped several times as the inaugural winners of their accrediting agencies’ achievement awards, and it was ranked the best Healthcare Administration program in Ohio in 2018.
So it’s no surprise that Linenkugel wanted to be the first to host an event in the new conference room on the fourth floor of the Health United Building that opened to students this fall. She knew it couldn’t be just any event, though. It had to be one that appealed to all students and faculty from all the health-related academic programs at Xavier. And it had to showcase their work promoting interprofessional collaboration and education in the health professions.
Linenkugel knew, and Provost Melissa Baumann and the College of Professional Sciences leadership agreed, it had to be HIP—Healthcare In Practice. Its fall semester event featuring Dr. Scott Strassels speaking on pain management in the era of the opioid epidemic was the perfect inaugural event to take place in the HUB’s unique space at the top of the building.
So at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, the Healthcare In Practice speaker program launched the Health Services Commons as the University's newest—and maybe coolest—gathering space.
“The HIP program brings in professionals once each semester to get our health professions students together for a simple commons hour time around a topic of interest to all,” said Linenkugel, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, and a graduate of Xavier’s Health Services Administration program. “Our biggest challenge has not been finding presenters or topics. It’s been finding a place on campus to hold this.”
Indeed, they have been all over campus since the first HIP event was held in fall 2012: Conaton Board Room, Kennedy Auditorium, Bellarmine Chapel, Gallagher Theatre, Albers 104—the biology building. Now, for the first time, they have a home for the event—and the Health Services Administration program—in the HUB.
“For me it’s very gratifying. I just feel like I’m watching a baby take its first steps,” Linenkugel said. “I feel really good for the students and for everybody who’s worked with me on this. I’m happy the students didn’t have to go out of the building on Nov. 18 because it’s all right there.”
The HIP event was mandatory for all Health Services Administration and Occupational Therapy students, but it was open to all students studying health-related majors at undergraduate and graduate levels as well as their faculty. Surrounded by windows leading to a deck and overlooking the entire campus, the room filled quickly with people from Nursing, OT, Psychology, Health Services Administration, Radiologic Technology, Sport Studies, Exercise Science and Athletic Training. Though studying different areas of health care, they came together to learn about one of health care’s greatest challenges and how each might respond.
About 100 faculty and students came to hear Strassels, a clinical pharmacist and researcher from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, talk about “Pain Management in Light of the Opioid Epidemic.” As the scientific director of the Center for Surgical Health Assessment, Research & Policy and a researcher in the surgery department, Strassels specializes in chronic pain management. His talk focused on the effect on people who have chronic pain, such as cancer patients, caused by the current effort to reduce the use of opioid drugs.
“We have an opioid epidemic,” he said. “We also have problems trying to figure out what is the most safe and efficient way of treating people’s pain.”
Strassels said the CDC reported in 2017 about 70,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S., with 48,000 of those being opioid-related.
Linenkugel looks forward to many more HIP speaker events to take place in the HUB Commons. Though OT faculty member Leah Dunn, EdD, will take over coordinating and leading the HIP events starting in fall 2020, Linenkugel has three more scheduled into 2021 focused on different aspects of how to improve the quality and value of health care.
She hopes by then, an alumni fundraising effort will have raised the $1.5 million needed to name the space after Ed Arlinghaus, the longest-serving and best-known director of the Health Services Administration program, whose standards of academic achievement, dress and paid residencies remain key elements of the program’s success.
By France Sloat, Office of Marketing and Communications