Rural Interdisciplinary Team Training Program - Office of Rural Health
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Rural Interdisciplinary Team Training Program

Team Members of the Great Falls, MT CBOC, May 2014
Team Members of the Great Falls,
MT CBOC, May 2014

The Rural Interdisciplinary Team Training (RITT) Program, a component of the Office of Rural Health (ORH) funded Geriatric Scholars Program, is a manualized, 8-hour, accredited educational program that is geared to strengthening team-based care for older Veterans at rural outpatient clinics. Piloted in 2011, and now in its fifth implementation year, RITT has provided education to 896 primary care providers and staff at 61 Community Based Outpatient Clinics throughout the nation. RITT has been offered in clinics in 19 of the 21 VHA Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs). The RITT program is managed at the VISN 3 Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) in the Bronx VA Medical Center.

Program Goals

Overarching goals of the program are to increase provider and staff knowledge and skills in geriatrics and to provide the tools for sustained team-based approaches for quality care for older Veterans. Topics include:

  • the benefits of interprofessional healthcare teams,
  • discussion of three common geriatric syndromes,
  • identifying team-based solutions to care,
  • an overview and demonstration of cognitive screening tools, and
  • assistance in developing a team-based action plan for clinical practice change.

About the Training

Great Falls CBOC Primary care team members reviewing a case study, at the Vet Center in Great Falls, MT, May 2014
Great Falls CBOC Primary Care
Team Members reviewing a
case study, at the Vet Center
in Great Falls, MT, May 2014

Participants receive a curriculum binder and a toolkit containing educational and clinical resources such as pocket cards, articles, interactive booklets, and DVDs. RITT is accredited by the VA Employee Education System (EES) for 6.5 Continuing Education credits.

The training meets a demand for enhanced geriatric knowledge and skills in the rural primary care setting where there is a shortage of geriatrics specialists. In fact there is just one geriatrician for each 10,000 older rural persons, with similar shortages of geriatrics specialists in nursing, social work, and psychology.

RITT is framed in the team context because of the documented benefits of interprofessional teamwork in a primary care setting, including improved care, decreased duplication of services, and reduced medication errors, among other benefits. After participating in RITT, providers and staff report sustained change in selected clinic practices, including monitoring for geriatrics red flags, enhancing active listening skills, and screening for fall risks. An evaluation has found significant changes pre and post RITT on team measures such as communication, cohesion, and clarification of team goals and means.

More Information About RITT Program

Plans are underway for next year's training sessions. RITT trainings are open to VA employees only and participants include medical and allied health professionals from VA facilities that primarily serve rural Veterans. The RITT program was accredited by VA Employee Education Service (EES) in Fiscal Year 2015 for Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Psychology and Social Work.

If you are interested in hosting a training in Fiscal Year 2017 or need more information about the RITT program, please contact:

Eugenia Dorisca
Tel: 718-584-9000 x3836
Eugenia.Dorisca@va.gov