U-M’s First Interprofessional Facilitation Workshop

Faculty from all 3 University of Michigan campuses reached consensus it was a valuable learning event.

For a first-ever interprofessional facilitation workshop on September 5, 2019, the Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education (IPE) and its Faculty Development Committee brought together more than 40 new and experienced health science faculty from across U-M’s health science schools – as well as representatives from patient-centered care programs like Spiritual Care, Child Life, Palliative Care, and the Office of Patient Experience. Two hours of programming had been created by an interprofessional team of facilitators (see below) to help participants identify and practice facilitation skills to foster collaboration among students and colleagues. It included short theory bursts, video debriefs, and role-play of a team meeting.

First, however, the participants engaged in an ice-breaker called “Here’s My Card,” in which they each wrote down a few qualities and activities of their discipline on an index card. Cards were shuffled and read out loud for a “guessing game” to learn about each others’ roles – and to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions. “My title may sound like I help people find jobs,” one card said. It went on to explain that the practitioner’s profession (occupational therapy) helps patients recover from injuries and improve or maintain the skills needed for daily living.

After a quick refresher on interprofessional education and IPE competencies at U-M, the assembled group participated in exercises designed to address unique facilitation issues that arise in interprofessional spaces (including use of discipline-specific jargon, perceived hierarchies, different types of expertise, and uncertainty about other roles).

The workshop’s facilitators:

  • Caren Stalburg, MD, MA, Associate Professor, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Learning Health Sciences
  • Amy Yorke, PT, PhD, Associate Professor Board-Certified in Neurologic Physical Therapy
  • Erin Khang, LMSW, Michigan Medicine Social Work Manager and Director of Graduate Social Work Education

The three co-creating facilitators demonstrated from the start that they could “walk the talk” of their subject, as they seamlessly took turns with the microphone, introduced exercises, and brought forth observations of participants. Appreciation of their work was widespread, and participants closed out the day with talking about what found most useful, such as the importance of establishing ground rules in teams and meetings. They also shared their ideas for next steps they could take (including bringing newfound skills back to their co-faculty at their schools and clinics).

“I’ve worked with physicians, nurses, clinic staff, and patients for many years,” said College of Pharmacy Associate Professor of Social and Administrative Sciences Steve Erickson, a workshop participant. “We usually talk one-on-one about problems and solutions – rarely all together at the same time. The idea of interprofessional practice and learning is relatively new to me, and I’m taking every advantage I can to learn more so that I can incorporate IPE in my courses.”

“I was impressed with the level of enthusiasm for this style of teaching and facilitating for these busy professionals at this time of the year – early September!” said Michigan Center for IPE Director Frank Ascione.

“People were excited, engaged, and took away many tools that they can immediately implement into their practice and teaching including types of questions to use when addressing different levels of learning,” said Michigan Center for IPE Assistant Director Vani Patterson.



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Learning objectives for the workshop:
  • Describe key factors to consider when facilitating interprofessional teams
  • Identify facilitation techniques as applied to interprofessional education/practice
  • Practice interprofessional facilitation skills to foster collaboration among students and/or colleagues.