When Marymount Universitys Cynda Tipple traveled to East Jerusalem to work with a facility that helps children with disabilities in the West Bank and Gaza, she took six graduate students with her virtually.
The Princess Basma Centre cares for about 800 children a year and its a model where the mom comes with the child and stays for about three weeks, said Tipple, a continuing faculty member in Health Care Management & Legal Studies. When they go home, theres very little access to outpatient physical or speech therapy.
She first learned of the facility during a 2016 pilgrimage through her church, St. Marys Episcopal Church in Arlington.
I told them that so much of what they were doing relates to our work at Marymount, that if there was ever a project we could help them with, they should get in touch, said Tipple.
Last year their executive director met with Tipple during a visit to the United States. Tipple went to the Basma Centre for two weeks to do a broad management assessment. She most recently returned for a week in March. Before leaving, she briefed the students in her Health Care Operations Management class on a quality improvement project focused on hand-washing compliance.
Once at the Basma Centre, she used a virtual management board to post information, questions, video interviews, reports and photos online. Applying a quality improvement process known as Plan, Do, Study, Act, Tipple and her students completed knowledge and competence assessments for the staff, which included the use of a lotion that simulates the behavior of real germs with particles that glow under a black light.
The students were enthused enough about the project to check in every day over spring break, she said. They did a beautiful job and this provides an interesting model that could be applied elsewhere.
Typically, each Basma Centre staffer saw 15 patients a day, and needed to hand wash before and after each patient. Tipple and her class learned that some physical therapy students on rotation did not receive the same orientation as the regular staff, that only half the hand-sanitizer dispensers were working, and that more access to moisturizers for dry skin was needed. The single greatest barrier was the lack of time between patient visits.
In order to find time, the class came up with a creative solution.
We decided to engage mom and the child in hand-washing as part of their therapy, Tipple said.
While most of the staff spoke some English, the children and their mothers did not.
But we came to know each other through our eyes and hearts, Tipple said.
Kelly White, in her third year of graduate school in Marymounts Health Care Management/MBA program, said the experience sparked her interest in learning about global health care systems.
Just because a project involves multiple steps and structured pre-planning, it doesnt mean that the solutions will be complex to initiate/implement, White said.
Samuel Aremoh, working toward his master of science degree in Healthcare Management/Information Technology, said it was an honor to be part of the student team.
Marymount exposes students to real life scenarios so that students can see and apply their skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to a real life problem, Aremoh said. The school encourages me to provide service at no cost to help humanity even in a different nation.
Cynda Tipple, top row, second from right, is a continuing faculty member in Health Care Management & Legal Studies at Marymount University. Shes pictured with with Cameron Merrow of St. Marys Episcopal Church and staff members at the Princess Basma Centre in East Jerusalem.
Staff members at the The Princess Basma Centre use a black light to check hand hygiene competence after using the GloGerm lotion.