Announcing the winners of the 2023 Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education Awards for IPE Innovation & Excellence

For the fifth year, the Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education (C-IPE) recognized those who have made outstanding contributions in advancing interprofessional education and practice with the Awards for IPE Innovation & Excellence.

The awards were established to recognize and celebrate demonstrated excellence in teaching, scholarship or leadership in the areas of interprofessional education (IPE) or interprofessional practice (IPP) across the University of Michigan health science schools. This year’s recipients included both an individual and team honoree, and awards were presented at the University of Michigan Health Professions Education Day on April 4, 2023. They are:

Nikki Trupiano, Student Award for IPE Innovation and Excellence

Student award recipient Nikki Trupiano (center) poses with C-IPE leaders Rajesh Mangrulkar (left) and Vani Patterson (right)

When Nikki Trupiano entered medical school, she had the goal of developing and creating IPE curricula to improve students’ learning with and from each other. She hit the ground running, eventually serving as the interprofessional representative for her medical school class, and working with the C-IPE as a co-chair of Student Advisory Committee (SAC), as a member of the Executive Committee and engaging with two workgroups.

This award encompasses the breadth and depth of IPE work that Nikki has participated in while at the University of Michigan. Some notable contributions include helping create and implement the experiential program, Longitudinal Interprofessional Family Experience (LIFE), which was recognized with the Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize in 2022. She worked on two IPE introductory modules, offering the student perspective, and has participated in numerous conferences, presentations, posters and publications.

While her contributions are many, she is most proud of the relationships she has built with faculty and learners across multiple programs. 

Shared one of her award nominators,“Nikki is a valued member of our team, and her impact will be remembered long after she graduates.”

Health and Disabilities Team, Faculty/Staff Award for IPE Innovation and Excellence

The team with C-IPE leadership. Left to right: Vani Patterson, Steven Erickson, Jillian Woodworth, Laura Smith, Jeanne Andreoli and Rajesh Mangrulkar

Members of this team designed and created a remarkable set of innovative, experiential and authentic interprofessional (IP) activities within the elective course Health and Disabilities. Awardees include Jillian Woodworth (College of Health Sciences, UM-Flint), Laura Smith (College of Health Sciences, UM-Flint), Jeanne Andreoli (Center for Research on Learning & Teaching) and Steven Erickson (College of Pharmacy).

The goal of this class was to contribute to the creation of an IP healthcare workforce capable of providing a person centered approach to patients with disabilities in an effort to improve quality of care and reduce disparities in health outcomes. 72 students (41 from pharmacy, public health, nursing, bioinformatics at UM-Ann Arbor; 31 from occupational therapy and physical therapy at UM-Flint) worked with 21 community partners over the course of six weeks. Students focused on enhancing their IP communication skills, increasing awareness of disability-related issues and understanding social determinants that influence the health outcomes of people with disabilities.

“This course is extremely valuable to the education of future health care professionals,” shared one nominator. “It provides opportunities for students to learn of the experiences persons with disabilities have with the health care system and health care professionals. It also provides an opportunity for students to understand day to day life of persons with disabilities. What is exciting is the blending of professions in the student groups, which allows students to also learn about other health professions. It intentionally supports people – including patients, families and communities – to learn together to enhance collaboration.”

The awards were presented by Rajesh Mangrulkar, M.D., director of the Center for Interprofessional Education. 

“Our awardees have worked tirelessly on this mission of advancing IPE and equity to help shape the future of health and health care,” he said. “Our community has really benefited from them and the other nominees as they elevate teamwork as a core value for our work at this university.”