In a transformative endeavour to address vaccine hesitancy and promote interprofessional collaboration, QU Health at Qatar University (QU) hosted a transformative Interprofessional Education (IPE) activity during the Spring 2024 semester.

With a focus on vaccines, this initiative brought together students from various health disciplines to pioneer novel approaches in public health education.

The activity drew participation from students across different health colleges, including those from the University of Calgary - Qatar.

This collaborative endeavour engaged 216 students and 25 facilitators from diverse programmes such as Biomedical Sciences, Public Health, Pharmacy, Nursing and Dental Medicine.

The primary objectives of the event were diverse. It aimed to cultivate a comprehensive understanding of vaccine hesitancy among students while exploring effective strategies to combat it through interprofessional teamwork. By fostering dialogue and collaboration among future healthcare professionals, the activity sought to underscore the pivotal role of interdisciplinary cooperation in addressing public concerns and misconceptions about vaccines.

Dr Susu Zughaier, associate professor of Microbiology at QU’s College of Medicine, spearheaded a focused session on vaccination hesitancy to kick-start the event.

The session served as a foundation for subsequent discussions, encouraging participants to analyse the complexities of vaccine hesitancy and its underlying factors.

The highlight of the activity was a dynamic case study presentation, where students assumed the roles of an interprofessional health team tasked with addressing a patient’s concerns about vaccination. Through role-play and interactive dialogue, students demonstrated the importance of tailored communication and collaboration in dispelling vaccine myths and fostering informed decision-making.

In a creative culmination, students were challenged to develop communication materials aimed at promoting vaccination uptake within the community. Leveraging their diverse expertise, students crafted engaging social media graphics and posters, blending informative content with visually captivating designs to effectively convey the importance of vaccination.

This innovative IPE activity showcased QU’s commitment to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and underscored its dedication to addressing pressing public health challenges. By equipping future healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge to confront vaccine hesitancy, QU continues to champion endeavours aimed at building healthier communities and advancing global health outcomes.

Commenting on the event, Dr Susu Zughaier said, “Vaccines are the best public health strategy to protect the community. Implementing vaccination effectively requires collaboration between various sectors. Therefore, bringing students from various healthcare professions together to learn about vaccines, vaccine-preventable infections, and vaccine hesitancy is crucial for future healthcare professionals’ awareness.”

Moza Saad Al Kuwari, a fourth-year Public Health student at QU, reflected on her experience, saying, “The interprofessional education experience demonstrated the value of public health and highlighted that research and statistics on vaccination, in terms of morbidity and mortality rates, are supported by data, proving to society the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Furthermore, this IPE activity assisted us in developing our professional communication abilities and our understanding of illnesses from multiple professional perspectives.”

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