When an ‘ehpic’ faculty workshop is truly, motivatingly epic!

IPE faculty workshop

University of Toronto leaders in interprofessional education and care bring many years of experience to three inspiring days in Michigan.

University of Michigan’s 4th cohort of Interprofessional Leadership Fellows and dozens of additional U-M faculty recently participated in an intensive training sponsored by Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education (IPE). The ehpic program (which stands for “Educating Health Professionals in Interprofessional Care”) was facilitated by highly regarded faculty from University of Toronto (UT) Centre for IPE (Ivy Oandasan, Lynne Sinclair, Dean Lising, Belinda Vilhena), several of whom have published extensively in the IPE literature and consulted internationally over decades of leadership and innovation.

“We have 39 people coming together here as change agents–and when you get talented folks from various disciplines together to talk, exciting things happen,” said Michigan Center for IPE Director Frank Ascione at the start of the three-day training. “This program is designed to transform the future of collaborative health practice, and that’s what I am charging ehpic folks to help us do.”

The ehpic™ program was designed “to equip leaders with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to teach learners and fellow colleagues the art and science of working collaboratively for patient-centred care.” The facilitators began the process of “catalyzing change” by dividing the U-M participants into interprofessional groups (designated by fruit signs on the tables), and each came up with a common hope for a lasting outcome of their work:

  • Apples: Teach better to practice better.
  • Grapes: Integrate IPE into curriculum.
  • Blueberries: Gain foundational background to do intentional IPE – “Getting our learn on.”
  • Cherries: Take IPE to next level – “Leveling up.”
  • Apples: Integrate IPE across the continuum for health professionals.
  • Bananas: Understand IPE in accreditation.

The exercises focused on in-depth examinations of interprofessional competencies; ethics and values; finding personal and professional common ground; elements of collaborative leadership; and what makes a group of people a well-functioning team (mutual accountability and psychological safety, for example). The facilitators scoped the progress of the interprofessional education movement and what team-based health practice seeks to accomplish.

“Education is a health services intervention” was one thought-provoking framing presented by ehpic™ facilitator Ivy Oandasan, a professor of family and community medicine and the inaugural director of the Office of Interprofessional Education at UT. “When you look at the literature, you see that challenges around interpersonal communication are a big cause of medical errors and adverse effects in patient care,” she said.

U-M School of Social Work’s Daicia Price had an impromptu opportunity to pitch her dean on IPE (see more photos below).

Final Day 3 exercises challenged workshop participants to envision future successes and to compose “elevator speeches” to take back to their units to engage colleagues and leadership to advance interprofessional education and practice. Daicia Price, a cohort 4 IPL fellow and clinical faculty member at U-M School of Social Work, enthusiastically volunteered to deliver her speech not just to fellow attendees but also directly and energetically to her school’s dean, Lynn Videka (chair of the Health Sciences Council of deans), who had come to observe the closing hours of the workshop. Dean Videka acknowledged the commitment of all the participants and encouraged them to go forth with focus on “creating interprofessional models of care, because the knowledge base is slim–yet this can improve care for all people.”

Feedback on the workshop from U-M attendees included:

  • “It’s super-interesting, and I appreciate that the model focuses on patients as part of the health care team,” said Kate Balzer, a social worker turned project manager at Michigan Medicine.
  • “My interprofessional work will be more meaningful and intentional now,” said Adam Marks, an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at U-M, adding that the workshop “made the implicit explicit.”
  • “The training strategy was to have faculty participate in an exercise/activity and then explain various ways they could incorporate that exercise into their teaching and practice–the ‘play within a play,’”observed Vani Patterson, assistant director of the U-M Center for IPE.
  • “A raucous game of Rock, Paper, Scissors demonstrated the quick formation of collaborative teams and highlighted adaptive organizations,” said Caren Stalburg, U-M Center for IPE faculty development chair, who also has several titles at Michigan Medicine.

Facilitator Lynne Sinclair, a physical therapist and educational consultant at UT Centre for IPE, stayed an extra day in Ann Arbor to work with U-M Center for IPE executive committee members from its 10 health science schools. She said that she appreciated “the honour to collaborate and learn with U-M IPE leaders and champions.”

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