IPE in Action 2019

The largest educational event of its kind at U-M again focuses on better health outcomes through interprofessional collaboration.

College of Pharmacy’s Bruce Mueller facilitates.

With more than a thousand students and a hundred faculty from eleven U-M schools on three campuses, IPE in Action is a unique event that anchors U-M’s momentum around interprofessional education (IPE) in the health sciences. As with the inaugural IPE in Action in 2018, this year’s event on Oct. 16 had faculty-facilitated groups working together at tables on the floor and in the stands at Crisler Center basketball arena in Ann Arbor (the only indoor campus venue large enough).

After introductions and initial icebreakers in the groups, a keynote address was delivered by U-M Health System/Michigan Medicine Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Tony Denton. He explained why teamwork in health care is essential to the well-being of people in communities as well as for patients in hospitals.

“I believe interprofessional collaboration means respecting each other’s talents and competencies, to synergize and strengthen the knowledge, power, and service capability of the team,” he said. “You will have to solve issues together.”


Student group during the icebreaker.

The Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools (RAHS) presented the actual case of a young person with multiple physical and psycho-social challenges. Students read the details of the case and discussed interrelated approaches for treatments. RAHS providers then explained how their integrated “wraparound care” helped the client get back on track with support for dealing with his chronic conditions, medications (and interactions), diet, oral health, exercise, self-confidence, and life goals.

School of Dentistry student Rachel Teitelbaum said “it was eye-opening to look at the case from different perspectives–and it was beneficial to see how physical therapy (from UM-Flint) would focus on the patient’s goals for getting better.” 


UM-Flint’s Suzanne Trojanowski leads discussion.

“It was fantastic to watch students from diverse backgrounds communicate with each other about a real and complex case,” said Frank Ascione, current and founding director of the Michigan Center for IPE. 

For all student participants, IPE in Action is immediately preceded by an online module that includes videos, assignments, and interprofessional discussion boards for students on all three U-M campuses. This multi-part foundational program sets the groundwork for more intense  interprofessional experiences, which allow students to dive deeply  into the IPE competencies in a safe environment before having to practice them in their rotations. 

Mary Beth Lewis, Pharmacy

Tony Denton talks collaboration.

U-M’s IPE initiative “focuses on several core competencies that include values and ethics, roles and responsibilities, communication, teamwork and intercultural intelligence,” says Vani Patterson, assistant director of the Michigan Center for IPE. “It also provides students with diverse learning opportunities outside of the traditional semester-based courses, like clinical and field experiences, service learning projects, simulations and online modules.”  

As Tony Denton explained to the students, collaboration should always be front of mind in their work: “Remember WE, not me. US, not you. OUR, not your.” 

See real-time reactions to IPE in Action at the hashtag #IPEinActionUM and more information on Michigan Medicine’s website.