Working Together in Challenging Times – UPDATED 4/30/20

 As the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates widespread collaboration and resourcefulness, the foundation of interprofessional practice can help.

Updates on April 30, 2020:

  • Ginsberg Center now offers the Connect2Community portal as a resource for ways to serve our community during the pandemic.
  • The Journal of Interprofessional Care has issued a special call for papers  on the impact of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which maintain an explicit interprofessional focus and represent a diversity of settings, professions, and fields. Submit by May 29. Details on submission.
  • The National Center’s NEXUS Conference abstract deadline is extended to May 15. Organizers have announced it will be a virtual (online) conference in August 2020.
  • U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation (IHPI) has a resource page of Covid-19 news and expert commentary.

“The Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education and our community are responding to the coronavirus pandemic in a variety of ways,” said Director Frank Ascione. “We are helping coordinate multidisciplinary efforts through enhanced communication and facilitating remote meetings. Many of our faculty are responding within their own disciplines to ensure that all students are getting the instruction they need to complete the semester.”

Interprofessional education and practice creates a foundation for collaboration in a crisis. To support the community, we will continue to assist our interprofessional partners, including sharing the urgent request from Michigan Medicine for blood donations and for face masks and other medical supplies.

Working together across public health, government, medicine, nursing, and other health professions is more important than ever. Faculty with interprofessional backgrounds and training are helping people deal with–and mitigate–effects of the crisis. For example, Chair of UM-Dearborn’s Department of Health and Human Services Patricia Wren shared how she is applying her public health expertise in response to the pandemic. Along with vigilance around potential virus transmission, she advises “increased patience and resilience and tolerance for each other.” She is hopeful these are “lessons that we as a people, as a nation, might learn again.”

Former Interprofessional Leadership Fellow and Clinical Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Internal Medicine Laura Power shared an important plain-language message in a School of Public Health Q&A: Cancellation of events and focus on personal distance can help “flatten the curve of this virus’s impact on the entire population, so that the increase in coronavirus cases are spread out over as much time as possible,” she said. This can help keep the health workforce from becoming overwhelmed. 

Regarding potential impact of the virus, the Center for IPE has followed the guidelines of the federal and state government and the University of Michigan for its activities. We and the interprofessional community have taken proactive steps such as:

Cancellations and Postponements:

  • U-M’s annual Health Professions Education Day, scheduled for April 14, has been canceled. If possible, an online space will be created for accepted posters and asynchronous discussion. Details forthcoming.
  • Changes have been made to clinical rotations for U-M health science students; they are paused for U-M medical students, and onsite clinicals have been suspended for U-M Ann Arbor nursing and pharmacy students–see additional updates at the specific links below.
  • The National Center’s NEXUS Conference abstract deadline is extended to May 15. Organizers have announced it will be a virtual (online) conference in August 2020.

Campus Resources:

Providing perspective and encouragement, Center for IPE Director Frank Ascione said: “There have been other crises that I lived through as an administrator: the AIDS epidemic, 9/11, and the great recession, for example.  While each of these events had different effects on University life, they had one characteristic in common: we managed to persist and learn from them. I have no doubt that we will do the same in this crisis.”

This page will be updated as needed. We thank our U-M IPE partner schools for contributions for addressing this crisis and contributing to this page.