On July 23, 2007, the formal planning process for Western University of Health Science’s Interprofessional Education was launched via an inaugural IPE Committee meeting. University faculty, staff and administrators appointed to the Committee by Dr. Ben Cohen, then Provost and Chief Operating Officer, officially kicked off the IPE planning process.
In fall 2007, a series of small group faculty luncheon meetings were held to discuss the concept of interprofessional education at WesternU. More than 80 faculty members participated in these brainstorming sessions. The idea to conduct a pilot study on the design of a case-based course was only one of many ideas generated at these important faculty meetings.
The IPE Planning Oversight Committee is a dedicated group of WesternU faculty and staff. The Committee meets periodically to review the progress of the IPE work groups. The IPE Committee was further divided into nine work stream groups:
- Environmental Scan
- Clinic/Patient Care
- Program Evaluation
- Student Services
- External Funding
A total of 50 dedicated, talented faculty (medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, veterinary medicine, optometry, dental medicine and podiatric medicine) and administrators were members and leaders of the work groups. These groups met to plan, develop and implement the various aspects of the IPE curriculum.
The Chairs of the work groups served as members of the IPE Steering Committee. Dr. Sheree Aston, Vice Provost, Academic Affairs is the Chair of the IPE Initiative. The department of IPE was established in 2009. Dr. John Tegzes is the Director of IPE. Faculty members from each of the 9 health professional programs serve as liaisons for each of the three program phases.
The first phase of this curriculum started in the 2009-2010 academic year, concurrent with the opening of the new colleges of optometry, dental medicine and podiatric medicine. The second phase of the curriculum started in the 2010-2011 academic year. Portions of the third phase have been in pilot testing since the 2011-2012 academic year.