Western University of Health Sciences Interprofessional Western University of Health Sciences

Phase 1

From the WesternU Catalog:

This course prepares students to practice health care services through a team approach. Working in small Interprofessional teams, students will explore cases representing conditions across the life span. The cases will integrate elements common to all professionals such as ethical, behavioral, social and psychological issues. This course is a graduate requirement for all health professional programs.

The courses are designed to develop within learners the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to become collaborative healthcare practitioners aware of the broad scope of global health. Instructional content is delivered using a problem-based learning (PBL) approach and faculty from across the university serve as facilitators and instructors.


The phase one course, “Patient Centered Cases – An Interprofessional Approach” started in January the 2009-2010 academic year. The overall goal is for our students to develop an understanding of and appreciation for other health professionals. This course lays the foundation for future collaborative and coordinated care of patients.

This course is required for our entry level first-year students from our nine (9) health professional programs: osteopathic medicine, optometry, dental medicine, podiatric medicine, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant, nursing, pharmacy.  Students from four additional health care disciplines: public health, occupational therapy assistant, medical assistant, and diagnostic imaging participate from Oregon State University (OSU) and Linn Benton Community College (LBCC), our IPE partners in Oregon. WesternU, OSU and LBCC faculty serve as the case facilitators. The original course design is based on a pilot case study conducted in spring 2008 (see case pilot study link for study details).

A total of five, three-week long cases comprise the two-semester course. The first week starts with a “uniprofessional” session, where students are introduced to the case topic from the scope of their own profession. The second and third week, students meet in interprofessional small-groups for two hours on Wednesday afternoons.

The cases are a vehicle for students to learn about and appreciate the contribution each profession makes in the delivery of health care. Learners will study both patient-centered and population-centered cases, and will explore these topics, actively participating as a team of learners, identifying the issues involved and working toward solutions for some of contemporary health care’s most pressing problems.


Chart-Patient-Centered Cases