Health Professions Join Together for Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing faculty

On two consecutive Wednesday evenings in February 2017, University of Michigan held its first intentionally interprofessional workshops on motivational interviewing.

More than 60 students from across the U-M health science schools and campuses came together for the six hours of discussion, training, and networking. The students had small-group opportunities to practice open-ended questions, reflective responses, and other techniques at the core of this highly regarded form of behavioral change counseling.

The workshops were led by nine faculty members from across U-M’s health science schools and campuses. The faculty team had collaborated for nearly a year to make the interprofessional education (IPE) offering a reality.

According to U-M School of Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor Beth Kuzma, DNP, “Motivational interviewing is a skill that many disciplines use, so it’s a natural fit for an interprofessional education offering.” The experience of planning and running the IPE workshops was extremely valuable, she said, in part because faculty from different disciplines collaborated to coach students from across health professions. “It was very exciting to see the energy in the room, and to see the students and faculty alike engaged and passionate about the possibility of working together and learning from one another!”

“Many of the people in this room are trained to give people unsolicited advice–and that rarely works,” said U-M School of Public Health Professor Ken Resnicow, PhD, who presented and demonstrated much of the instructional content related to motivational interviewing.  He emphasized the need for clinicians to address “feelings before fixing” when working with patients and clients who struggle with addictions and other situations that challenge their health.

Some of the faculty plan to follow up with research on the effectiveness of an interprofessional approach to teaching motivational interviewing.  Students, for their part, reported finding great value in both the content and the format of the workshops. Words they used to describe the IPE approach included: “collaborative, unified, adaptive, holistic,” and “necessary.”

Pictured above: Motivational Interviewing IPE Workshops collaborating faculty: Top row from left: David Belmonte, Med School; Ken Resnicow, Public Health; Nasuh Malas, Psychiatry; Dan DeSena, Social Work. Front row from left: Beth Kuzma, Nursing; Danielle Furgeson, Graduate Dental Hygiene; Amy Yorke, Physical Therapy (U-M Flint); Jolene Bostwick, Pharmacy; Marita Inglehart, Dentistry.

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