U-M Foundational Experiences for IPE Expand

How do students begin to learn about each other’s professions and collaborate for better health outcomes?

In the first three weeks of October 2018, teamwork is front and center on the syllabus for thousands of students from the 10 health science schools on all three University of Michigan campuses (Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn).

After months of work by faculty and staff, the health science students are having opportunities to engage with each other via related interprofessional education (IPE) foundational programs: one online, and one sharing the floor of hallowed Crisler Center with the legacy of U-M’s successful basketball programs. Both IPE foundational programs are designed to further participants’ abilities to work in teams, with the goal of transforming the future of collaborative care and ultimately improving patient outcomes and population health. Here’s more about these two IPE foundational experiences:

Introduction to Interprofessional Education

Now in its third year, the revised online Introduction to IPE expands for 2018 to include over 1600 U-M health science student participants (up from 564 students in the first year), including representation from each of the 10 health science schools plus LSA. The module helps students understand the current health care landscape via perspectives of real patients, families, and practitioners. It shows how interprofessional education directly relates to the “quadruple aim” of health care: improved patient experience, improved population health, increased workforce satisfaction, and reduced cost of care.

This module’s content benefits learners early in their health science programs and facilitates their understanding of diverse roles–it is a program requirement for a majority of the U-M health sciences schools. Melissa Gross, PhD, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology, is the lead faculty member for the module. According to a faculty member whose students completed the Introduction to IPE: “They loved the module and took away so much excitement and enthusiasm to learn more about and be advocates for IPE!”

IPE in Action

The first-ever IPE in Action kicks off on Oct. 17 at Crisler Center as “one of the largest educational events ever at U-M, with more than 1,200 students, and more than 100 faculty to teach and mentor during the event,” said James Holloway, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Vice provost for Global Engagement and Interdisciplinary Academic Affairs. He is a  featured participant at IPE in Action.

“Increasingly, it’s the students asking us to allow them to take classes and work together across their health science disciplines,” he added. “This event is a result of student demand as much as it’s a realization that it’s a good educational mode for students in health sciences.”

At IPE in Action, students from U-M’s 10 health science schools will establish professional relationships with each other, while working in groups through a practice case. The case is based on a real-life patient practitioners have faced and collaborated to care for. Tuning in to the #IPEinActionUM hashtag across social media platforms during the Oct. 17 event will allow those who cannot attend to follow along in real time.

Laura Smith, PhD, DPT, Assistant Professor at UM-Flint, is the lead faculty member for IPE in Action; the lead staff member is Vani Patterson, Assistant Director of the Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education. “This event is a result of incredible faculty champions, growing student demand, and a shift in culture in the U-M health science schools,” she said. “It is far beyond anything we could have imagined, and so clearly demonstrates that both students and faculty see great value in IPE.”

“Together, our foundational experiences represent U-M’s visionary approach to IPE and the importance of team-based care,” said Frank Ascione, Director of the Michigan Center for IPE.

“As our health science schools recruit students, they are emphasizing the growing interprofessional elements of a Michigan education,” he added. “IPE foundational experiences like these are embedded in in our curricula now: online first for the Introduction to IPE module, and in-person with IPE in Action. Subsequent split-offs will be available as new modules continue develop. Each school will be able to decide which foundational options are best for their students.”