Center for Interprofessional Education Enters “Next Phase” in Advancing Health

Seven years ago, Nikki Trupiano was involved in a life-threatening motor vehicle crash. She remembers being given low odds to survive, but she also recalls being surrounded by a team of health professionals who worked together seamlessly to provide her the best care possible and gave Trupiano her life back.

Now a third-year student in the U-M Medical School, Trupiano immediately got involved in interprofessional education (IPE) when she arrived at Michigan. She serves as co-chair for the Student Advisory Committee for the Center for Interprofessional Education (C-IPE), and is a member of the Executive Committee for the center. These experiences have given her abundant opportunities to provide a learner voice to IPE at Michigan.

“After experiencing interprofessional care from the patient perspective, I was determined to ensure that all other health professionals, including my fellow medical students, learned how to provide care in this way,” says Trupiano. “These workgroups at C-IPE are on the cutting edge of the most novel IPE strategies. C-IPE has gone above and beyond to find creative ways to incorporate my voice as a student on the workgroups. That, in combination with the excellence and training of the faculty, the high standard for research and scholarship, and the drive to continue improving, the center is poised to continue being an international leader in paving the way for IPE.”

Since its inception in 2015, C-IPE has brought together hundreds of faculty members and thousands of learners to advance an interdisciplinary educational effort that helps the latter learn how to become members of skilled teams of collaborative care practitioners who positively impact the delivery of high-quality, safe, and effective health care services. During that time, C-IPE participants have produced nearly 200 IPE-related publications, and were awarded more than $700,000 in IPE research funding.

Now, C-IPE, with renewed support from the Office of the Provost and the deans of the 10 U-M health science colleges and schools, is launching its “next phase” through 2026, focused on a singular goal: implementing IPE at U-M to improve the quadruple aims of health (better health, better patient experience, lower cost, and improved provider well-being). 

Participants in IPE at the University of Michigan hail from the College of Pharmacy and the schools of Dentistry, Kinesiology, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and Social Work, as well as the College of Education, Health, and Human Services at U-M-Dearborn and College of Health Sciences and School of Nursing at U-M-Flint.

“All of us involved in IPE at Michigan are in firm agreement that we can bring an innovative approach to IPE that can impact health that most universities cannot — for these reasons, we can become THE national leader in IPE,” says Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D., the Marguerite S. Roll Professor of Medical Education, who was named center director in 2021. “Faculty and staff have real enthusiasm for this work. We will build efficient training for them in IPE so they can help instruct our students in practice and community settings. We will also more deliberately support their research endeavors, connecting them to each other in a community of practice and scholars.

“In addition, our learners will fully benefit from this work, being deliberately recruited here to thrive in interprofessional teams,” Mangrulkar added in his remarks as the plenary speaker at the 2022 U-M Health Professions Education Day. “We will bring authentic IPE experiences to each of them, and continue to invite them to work with us on creating this future, like we have with Nikki and her colleagues.”

The center’s efforts for the next four years will continue its foundational work, defining and implementing the core curriculum for U-M health professional students. But it will also build a larger community of faculty and staff to implement IPE in new experiential settings, deliberately trained as educators, with intentional measurement of its impact on learning, practice, and health outcomes. 

“The academic strengths across the health science schools on the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses, working in partnership with the C-IPE, will mobilize strategy and drive innovation to make a lasting impact in collaborative healthcare” says Laurie K. McCauley,  DDS, MS, PhD, dean and the William K. and Mary Anne Najjar Professor of Periodontics in the School of Dentistry, and a professor of pathology in the Medical School, who serves as chair of the Health Sciences Council. “Dr. Mangrulkar is the ideal leader of this effort and we are confident he will propel the center to the next level of collective distinction.”

Faculty, staff, and learners from all three campuses are needed to join the workgroups being launched that will implement five key interconnected strategies that comprise the center’s recently endorsed strategic blueprint. Any members of the U-M community can express interest in joining the IPE workgroups at Michigan by filling out this form

“C-IPE has been very successful in assembling a robust cohort of faculty and learners to advance a very critical area of learning — working within interdisciplinary teams to improve health care,” says Valeria Bertacco, PhD, MS, vice provost for engaged learning at the U-M, and the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. “Looking ahead, the future promises myriad possibilities for the center to further enhance interprofessional education by exploring new ideas and providing opportunities for our learners to excel as members of teams that represent the full spectrum of the health sciences at the University of Michigan.”