WSU Health Sciences Offers Programs to Assist Rural Clinics

Washington State University Health Sciences in Spokane is offering two programs intended to assist rural clinics: (1) strategies on implementing team-based care for patients prescribe opioids and (2) a virtual Balint group to bring together physicians and other providers to discuss complicated cases.

While team-based care is a prominent feature across medical education, its adoption in clinics is less widespread. The WSU virtual  workshop uses a facilitated case-based simulation for a chronic pain patient that helps clinics assess and plan collaborative care. All members of the care team are welcome to participate, including pharmacists, nurses, social workers and behavioral health specialists. The program also offers strategies for implementing team-based care; clinics may implement those tips as they see fit. There is no cost, and 1.75 CME credits are available for participation. Trainings will be provided at a mutually agreed upon time.

WSU is also facilitating a virtual Balint group for physicians, PAs and ARNPs; if you’re unfamiliar, a Balint group is a group of clinicians who meet to discuss complex medical cases. The group focuses on team members’ abilities to connect with and care for the patient sustainably. The group typically consists of eight to 10 participants and two facilitators and is more of a professional support group (as opposed to a therapeutic support group). Among WSU’s facilitators is WAFP member Janet Walker, MD, an internationally recognized Balint trainer and faculty at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. As with the team-based care program, there is no cost, and CME credits are available to participants.

Learn more at WSU’s website or by contacting Barbara Richardson, PhD, RN, in WSU’s Department of Medical Education and Clinical Sciences, at