IPE event puts focus on HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer


By: Eva Gajic and Mohnish Rao

Dentistry and medicine students joined forces to explore how interprofessional collaboration between the two professions can help prevent HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) at the annual Interprofessional Education (IPE) Day.   

Led by Dr. Cecilia Dong, DMD, and her research team, the event included interprofessional networking, providing attendees to make new and meaningful connections.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Kevin Fung, MD, spoke about the potential for interprofessional collaboration to positively impact care for patients with OPC and prevention of HPV-associated OPC. 

His presentation ignited passionate conversation among attendees, who were invited to participate in small-group discussions about the barriers and facilitators to interprofessional collaboration in their respective fields.

As we reflect on the event, we realize that as first-year students, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details of anatomy, pathophysiology and pharmacology. We have become so focused on treating existing diseases that we forget the best medicine we can offer our community is preventing disease in the first place.

Organizing this project has shown us that when professionals across health care fields are supported and empowered to collaborate effectively, we can go a step beyond in caring for our communities by catching disease early and ultimately, preventing tragic outcomes.