More than 120 students attended the 2019 Inter-Professional Summit at the Ohio Union. Credit: Courtesy of Shivani Patel

Although tornado sirens sound every Wednesday at noon in Columbus, Ohio, this year’s Inter-Professional Summit will prepare graduate and professional students to deal with the real thing and its health effects.

On Saturday, the Inter-Professional Council will host its sixth annual Inter-Professional Summit aimed at connecting undergraduate, graduate and professional students to discuss and brainstorm solutions to global, existential threats. To keep students out of a lecture setting and expose them to global issues not included in their curricula, the IPC is kicking off its first natural disaster simulation at the climate change-focused summit, Shivani Patel, a second-year in the pharmacy program and IPC senator for the College of Pharmacy, said.

The IPC is the governing student body of all the professional schools at Ohio State, made up of the colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Optometry, Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy and Law, Daniel Brook, a second-year in the public health master’s program, said.

“These unfortunate threats we are facing in society, there can be a light at the end of the tunnel, and these summits can create an environment of what that light can look like,” Brook, a public health representative of the summit, said.

The IPC is connecting professionals across different fields and raising awareness this year in a way that is both academic and interactive, Patel said.

The simulation will include 10 stations, each representing the progression of a natural disaster, including preparation for the days and hours preceding the event, challenges to overcome during the disaster and the response model a community must develop to rebuild infrastructure and regain its footing, Macon Overcast, a third-year in the College of Veterinary Medicine and IPC senator for the college, said.

Using, Ohio State’s professional website platform, teams of students will be grouped together to develop blog posts for each stage of a natural disaster response, with a final digital product that will serve as a platform to inform the public on emergency responses, Overcast said.

“Natural disasters happen whether or not you believe in climate change, so we still want this to be something that is practical regardless,” Overcast said.

Although the website will benefit attendees, the main goal of the summit is to promote the idea that professionals in different fields can work together to find solutions, which Brook said is rare to find at universities with so many different people conducting different research.

With representatives from all the professional schools at the summit, the common denominator that connects them all is being able to communicate with professionals and people who are experts in different fields, Overcast said.

“It’s geared towards increasing your knowledge and awareness, not making you a better vet or doctor,” Patel said.

Patel said students can implement what they learn at this event into their daily lives.

“It applies to you as a citizen and as a human,” Patel said. “You think you are just students, but you are major contributing factors of the university.”

All students are welcome to participate in the summit, and Brook said they should be interested in figuring out what role they can play in improving the outcomes of global issues.

“We want you to think about how your training can positively impact whatever negative is coming from climate change, can be a new good perspective that any student can have,” Brook said.

Prior to the simulation, keynote speaker Dr. Caitlin Rublee, an emergency medicine physician and Living Closer Foundation Climate and Health Policy Fellow at the University of Colorado, will speak on her climate change research and collaboration with professional societies, government agencies and academia in addressing this issue.

Patel said Rublee was also recently part of a task force responsible for researching the implications of climate change on chronic kidney disease.

After the keynote speaker and disaster simulation, Columbus and Ohio State professionals will be available to network and share student opportunities regarding global issues under the professional school domains.

The summit will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Ohio Union. Registration is free, and there will be a complimentary lunch during the networking portion of the event. Students are encouraged to register ahead of time online but can also register at the event.

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