Four leading foundations have announced their support for a new national Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice, which was announced in early June by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and The John A. Hartford Foundation have collectively committed up to $8.6 million over five years for the new Center, which will have a mission to accelerate teamwork and collaboration among nurses, doctors and other health professionals.
The new Center will work across the U.S. with a particular focus on medically underserved areas. The foundations aim to help make it the “go to” coordinating and connecting body for efforts to promote interprofessional education and collaborative practice; convene key education, health and policy stakeholders; identify and disseminate best practices and lessons learned; and develop and evaluate interprofessional education programs.
“Interest in interprofessional education and team-based care has increased in recent years but we need to move faster,” said Maryjoan Ladden, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior program officer at RWJF. “We hope this Center will foster collaborations between educators and practice organizations to advance the field and improve how care is delivered to patients.”
In May of 2011, RWJF joined with six leading health professions education associations and three private foundations to release two landmark reports that recommend competencies for interprofessional health education, and strategies to implement them.
Interprofessional education provides health professionals with the competencies they need to effectively deliver care as part of a team. Traditional models of education for health professions emphasize mastery of skills within individual professions and give relatively little attention to how those skills will be used by members of real life teams. But health care workers need to understand the capabilities and limitations of other professionals, and have a common language and set of skills to effectively coordinate and deliver team-based care. Interprofessional education helps medical, nursing, public health, dentistry, pharmacy and other health professions schools forge new partnerships.