May 23 2011
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Second in a Series: The Imperative for Interprofessional Education

On May 10, the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) released two groundbreaking reports that recommend competencies for interprofessional health education to promote collaborative, team-based care, and strategies to implement them. This post is the second in a series in which the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF’s) Human Capital Blog speaks to leaders of this initiative. This interview is with Carol A. Aschenbrener, M.D., executive vice president of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

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Human Capital Blog: What matters most about the report you released on May 10?

Carol Aschenbrener: The consensus between the six collaborative professions and the degree of agreement with competencies proposed by single professions here and in other nations gives high credibility to our recent effort in proposing these competencies and calling for broad-based implementation. The immediate reaction from many reinforces our conviction that we are at a critical mass for implementation in health professions education.

HCB: How do you want to see it used?

Aschenbrener: Ideally, the competencies would be used as a foundation to ground learning experiences and assessments that could be used by many professions across the continuum of learning and practice. The IPEC members are already seeking funding to facilitate the sharing of such resources, which would increase efficiency and reliability.

HCB: Why do you believe the timing is right to advance interprofessional collaboration in education?

Aschenbrener: While interest in interprofessional education has waxed and waned for 40 years, it’s now clear that we cannot ensure consistently safe, high quality, efficient, patient-centered care without interprofessional collaboration. No single health profession can achieve this goal alone and new models of care absolutely require effective meaningful collaboration. This is further reinforced by the growing evidence supporting improved patient outcomes from team-based care.

HCB: Two years from now, what is the most important change you’d like to see as a result of this effort?

Aschenbrener: I hope that every medical school in the United States has a plan in place to implement patient-centered interprofessional learning experiences in order to ensure that all M.D. graduates will be prepared to meet these competencies in practice.

Read all the posts in this series.

Tags: Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Health & Health Care Policy, IPEC, Interprofessional Education, Medical, Nursing & Dental Workforce, Nursing, Publications, Research & Analysis