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College of Psychology students, faculty participate in IDEA initiative

Started at NSU in 2012

For Clinical Psychology doctoral student Delaney Willis, working in an interprofessional NSU group that educates the community about diabetes is more than just work - it is personal.

IDEAWillis, who is diabetic, is one of the students participating in NSU’s Interprofessional Diabetes Education & Awareness Initiative, or IDEA. The initiative was created in 2012 by Terry Morrow Nelson, Ph.D., an Assistant Dean and faculty member at the Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences. IDEA brings together NSU students and faculty from different academic disciplines with the common goal of educating the community about diabetes management.

Willis, who is serving as a student leader in the initiative this year, believes that the presentations are beneficial for family members of diabetics.

“I think it’s really important for family members to come to presentations, and they can say, ‘oh, I didn’t know all this...this is how I can be helpful’,” Willis said.

The interdisciplinary team at IDEA partners with community organizations like the American Diabetes Association, hosting presentations and participating in events like NSU Diabetes Day, diabetes walks, and more. In bringing together disciplines like psychology and the health sciences, students learn how to work together and conduct research with people from outside their discipline.

“The students all come at it from a slightly different angle to put together a very comprehensive presentation,” said Barbara Garcia-Lavin, Ph.D., the College of Psychology’s Director of Clinical Training and a longtime participant in IDEA.

Willis said her psychology training helps give other students a window into how much psychology can affect a person’s day-to-day life, whether it’s something like exercise, eating, or medication maintenance. But their knowledge has also been a benefit to Willis.

“I’m a health psychology student, so it’s helped tremendously since I’m working in the hospital year and I’ve had experience working with osteopathic, nursing and pharmacy students, and I can understand what information they’re given and how to relate our information in a way they can understand,” Willis said.

After graduating from the Psy.D. program, Willis intends to do consultation/liaison work in a hospital, offering a psychological perspective while working with people from different medical professions.

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