What if, instead of one health-care professional focusing on your medical needs, a team of nine such professionals worked together to give you the best possible diagnosis and treatment?
Collaboration and teamwork among health professionals are important aspects to the delivery of high-quality patient care. A landmark report by the Institute of Medicine suggests health care workforce preparation should include interprofessional education (IPE).
IPE is generally accepted to mean:
“Occasions when (students) from two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care”.
- Freeth et al. Effective Interprofessional Education:
Development, Delivery & Evaluation. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, 2005.
The World Health Organization describes IPE and its relationship to collaborative practice as: “Interprofessional education occurs when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. Interprofessional education is a necessary step in preparing a ‘collaborative practice-ready’ health workforce that is better prepared to respond to local health needs.” Source: World Health Organization (2010): Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice
WesternU’s interprofessional education curriculum will put students from all nine of the University’s disciplines together in the classroom, in small group venues, and in clinical experiences with patients. The goal is for WesternU graduates to demonstrate an understanding of other health professions and to provide and promote a team approach to patient care and health care management, leading to improved patient care.
This unity of professions directly reflects the “one health, one medicine, one vision” idea, employing a curriculum designed to do no less than revolutionize medical education in this country, breaking down the silos that characterize so many health professions campuses today.
Improved service to patients and enhanced student training were primary reasons to establish WesternU’s interprofessional education curriculum and Patient Care Center, which opened in May 2010 and includes seven specialty centers, including the Western Diabetes Institute.
As national health care organizations and employers emphasize the importance of a team-based approach to health care, training as part of an interprofessional team becomes essential to health professions graduates. As ambassadors for Western University of Health Sciences’ broad interprofessional approach to health-sciences education, our graduates will simultaneously cement WesternU’s reputation as a leader in graduate health-sciences education and raise the bar for patient care in California and throughout the United States.
Future WesternU graduates will understand and appreciate other health professionals, and will be able to provide and promote a coordinated approach to patient care and health care management.
Philip Pumerantz, PhD
President, Western University of Health Sciences