Editor’s note: In honor of the University’s 225th anniversary, we will be sharing profiles throughout the academic year of some of the many Tar Heels who have left their heelprint on the campus, their communities, the state, the nation and the world.
It’s not enough to say that Dr. Meg Zomorodi has been a change agent in the field of nursing. Zomorodi has been a change agent across the whole spectrum of health care, from pharmacy to social work to dentistry.
Zomorodi earned both her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Nursing and was a Marching Tar Heel as a student. She has spent much of her career at Carolina encouraging the health professions to work together in support of a shared mission: to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians.
It began back in 2008, when Zomorodi, then a clinical associate professor of nursing, noticed that her undergraduate students would leave patients’ rooms as soon as a physician entered. So she launched a teaching session connecting undergraduates with physicians from area hospitals to work on completing case studies together.
Close collaboration between health care teams, she said at the time, “needs to be the norm and not the exception.” She called for a culture change where students, nurses and physicians feel comfortable working as a team.
“The philosophy of teaching where professions are in silos and collaboration is rare is outdated,” she said.
A few years later, Zomorodi took the lead on developing the UNC Rural Interprofessional Health Initiative, which received a $1.5 million grant from the Willian R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. Through the initiative, Zomorodi continued her efforts to support collaboration in the health care industry, particularly with the goal of reducing health disparities in rural parts of the state. RIPHI has trained 141 students from nine health professions and won an honorable mention at the National Interprofessional Practice and Education symposium this past summer.
Today, Zomorodi serves as UNC-Chapel Hill’s first assistant provost for interprofessional education, leading Carolina’s new Office for Interprofessional Education and Practice.
“Think big,” Zomorodi recently wrote on her Twitter page (with the handle @MegZ4UNC). “Don’t back off. Make change. Find new opportunities. Go forth. It’s gonna be great.”