A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

The Value of a Multidisciplinary Approach to Health

By Mason Spirit contributor on February 5, 2015

The George Mason University College of Health and Human Services takes a broad ecological approach to health. That means we view health as more than the absence of disease and disability; it is the total well-being of the individual and the community.

We also recognize that the complexity of health and the factors associated with the management of disease and disability often require a multidisciplinary approach. Good health care requires coordination of care and services that may include all the professions in college: social work, nursing, nutrition, public health, rehabilitation, and health administration. The college continues to train health professionals with skills in each of these areas; however, the workforce of the future will also need health professionals trained to be multidisciplinary clinicians and researchers.

Multidisciplinary teams in health care have been incorporated throughout the health care system, from hospital discharge planning to chronic disease management to community-based health care coordination and case management. Each member of the team contributes to the health of the patient, client, or group from their professional perspective and assures that the proper care is provided across the spectrum of need.

The next step is to have a trained health care workforce composed of practitioners who not only are well prepared in their fields, but also understand the care perspective of one or more other disciplines. For example, health care professionals who understand business management and health economics are more prepared to adapt to changing models and advances in health care delivery. Nurses who understand health education strategies will be better able to motivate patients to change poor health practices and more prepared for chronic disease management of persons with diabetes and hypertension.

Our college is designing curricula and programs to give students the opportunity to develop multidisciplinary skills so they can effectively participate in the workforce of the future.

Thomas Prohaska
Dean, College of Health and Human Services

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