VITAL Returns to Inspire 6th Cohort of U-M Interprofessional Leadership Fellows

More than two dozen additional U-M IPE champions and previous IPL Fellows join in for best practices, interactive refreshers, and updates.

It’s not every day that a faculty member enthusiastically tweets about a required training… especially a training that’s completely online with 37 other people, spanning a half-dozen 2-hour sessions in early May. Yet the unique skills and enthusiasm of the University of Toronto Centre for IPE’s VITAL (Virtual Interprofessional Teaching and Learning) facilitators keep energy and enthusiasm going high throughout the program. Partway through, one member of the 6th cohort of University of Michigan Interprofessional Leadership (IPL) Fellows said on Twitter:

I feel so fortunate to participate in and learn from this IPE training opportunity as a U-M IPL Fellow!”
Hanna Phan, U-M College of Pharmacy

The nine faculty members in the 6th cohort of IPL Fellows have begun work on team projects focused predominantly on experiential interprofessional education, as in clinics or community settings. They come to the program from several U-M health science schools, Michigan Medicine, and the College of Engineering. Throughout the 18-month program, they are coached to be leaders, advocates, and change agents who can leverage teamwork to advance curricular and research goals, gaining the skills and resources to address issues common to IPE. The VITAL intensive experience provides grounding for that work.

For the second year in a row, VITAL was offered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the U-M Center for IPE again opened extra spaces in this popular program to the broader U-M community. Several former IPL Fellows and other IPE champions joined in, for a total of 38 U-M faculty in the engaging work with IPE competencies and much more. Toronto uses simulation videos to model good and not-so-good team behaviors, and keeps its materials relevant; this year featured an enhanced focus on best practices for virtual interprofessional meetings and facilitation.

Some participants noted how much fun they had representing and identifying with their small discussion-oriented “fruit groups” and coming together on the last day “as a big fruit salad.” The fruit group names also nourish a bumper crop of puns among participants, and the Toronto facilitators noted receiving several new varieties developed by U-M participants this year.

“The VITAL experience is part of the bigger picture of keeping faculty involved in our IPE movement,” explained Frank Ascione, founding director of the Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education, and one of the small [fruit] group facilitators for 2021. “The Fellows program provides formal training and coaching, while activities like the Interprofessional Community of Practice keep it going.”