A transformative chapter in health care education at University of Michigan
Carpeting and 78 crowded tables covered the basketball court of hallowed Crisler Center on the afternoon of October 17, 2018. Another 35 discussion groups settled into the stands, as more than 1200 health science students and faculty (125 of them from U-M’s Flint and Dearborn campuses) gathered for the first-ever IPE in Action event. A watershed moment in the relatively new interprofessional education (IPE) initiative at U-M, the goal was–and continues to be–nothing less than transforming the future of collaborative health care.
U-M marching band drum major Kelly Bertoni and three fellow band members took to the stage at the start of IPE in Action in a surprise unannounced appearance. They welcomed the health sciences students as fellow “proud Michigan Wolverines” and led the arena in an impromptu a capella singing of “The Victors.”
“This is truly a unique, special, and amazing event,” Vice-Provost James Holloway said in opening remarks. “This interprofessional health education initiative is vitally important to the University of Michigan. Why? Because we’re an institution focused on impact, and we know the delivery of health care is focused on teamwork.”
“We are truly stronger together, and efforts that build up important facets of our community make us all better” was the message that U-M Deputy Chief Diversity Officer Katrina Wade-Golden shared with the faculty-led groups of intermingled health professional students (from dentistry, kinesiology, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical and respiratory therapy, public health, social work, and more). At events such as IPE in Action, “we get to see the advantages of working together, overcoming differences, and focusing on common values, goals and outcome,” she said, adding that what unites the Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and IPE initiatives at U-M is valuing “diversity of thought and background.”
After a warmup “health care bingo” game, students spent the bulk of their IPE in Action time sharing their various approaches to a patient scenario, as presented by each of six interprofessional representatives of the Michigan Medicine Complex Care Management Program (pictured at top of page; see short video, more photos & Instagram story below). The multiple medical and psychosocial barriers to care encountered by 63-year-old “Mary” gave students from each discipline chances to examine ways they could collaborate, for the best possible outcomes.
IPE in Action is part of a series of foundational IPE experiences at U-M designed to further students’ abilities to work in teams, with the ultimate goal of improving patient and health system outcomes, as well as population health. It occurred right after the 2018 online Introduction to IPE was completed by 1600 U-M health science student participants (up from 564 students in the first year), including representation from all of the 10 health science schools on U-M‘s three campuses, plus LSA. The foundational experience helps students understand the current health care landscape via perspectives of real patients, families, and practitioners, and how collaborating interprofessional teams can achieve the “quadruple aim” of health care: improved patient experience, improved population health, increased workforce satisfaction, and reduced cost of care.
“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.”