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On The Issues

Interprofessional Education Gaining Ground

New York, NY

“Collaborating Across Borders,” an international conference on interprofessional education (IPE) held in Tucson, Arizona from November 19-21, drew more than 750 attendees, including health care professionals, educators, policymakers and leaders in the field— the largest-ever gathering of experts on this topic.

The conference brought together Canadians, Americans and others from across the globe to explore some of the most pressing issues in interprofessional education today, including effective teaching models, interactive learning, curricular reforms, faculty development and much more.

The work of a number of prominent Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation grantees was showcased at the meeting. Gerri Lamb, PhD, RN, an Associate Professor at the Arizona State University and her colleagues at the University of Arizona, led a discussion on strategies in designing a new primary care curriculum. With funding from the Macy Foundation, Lamb and her colleagues have created an innovative curriculum that brings together students in medicine, nursing and other disciplines to improve primary care in underserved areas. Lamb also facilitated a discussion at the Plenary Sessions that explored the urgency for a collaboration-ready workforce and the partnerships needed to implement IPE in academic and clinical settings.

Valentina Brashers, MD, at the University of Virginia led a workshop exploring ways to integrate interprofessional education into the classroom for students of nursing and medicine. With Macy’s support, Brashers and her colleagues have created a model for IPE that aims to produce graduates ready to collaborate with other health professionals.

Brenda Zierler at the University of Washington in Seattle presented a number of important topics at the meeting, including an update on a project that aims to train faculty members to promote and sustain interprofessional education. The team plans to create a model that can be used nationwide to expand the number of faculty members with the expertise to provide this kind of education.

Other Macy grantees Vanderbilt University, University of Colorado, and the University of Pittsburgh also presented new data or led discussions at this groundbreaking meeting.

From the stellar content and discussion, high-caliber speakers and impressive turnout, the conference was testament to the fact that IPE has finally come of age. After a 40 year effort to launch IPE, the meeting showed that health professionals and educators have moved beyond talking about IPE to creating a blueprint and beginning to implement this crucial educational strategy.

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