Bulletin of Dental Education

Six Leading Health Education Associations Unite to Form a New Organization Focused on Interprofessional Education and Practice

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American Dental Education Association Joins Collaboration to Better Health Care

In response to the need for a national coordinating body focused on fostering collaborative, patient-centered care, six national health professions education associations have formalized their commitment to continued collaboration to advance interprofessional education (IPE). 

On February 3, 2012, leaders from medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and public health signed a memorandum of understanding that paves the way for creating a new nonprofit organization called the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), as a unique asset to the nation. IPEC’s founding organizations include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Association of Schools of Public Health. 

“The movement toward collaborative, patient-centered care is driving rapid change within oral health care and other health professions,” says ADEA Executive Director Richard W. Valachovic, D.M.D., M.P.H. “ADEA is committed to supporting academic dental institutions as they reshape their curricula to better prepare students for practicing under this rapidly evolving paradigm. To that end, ADEA views IPEC as a unique opportunity to better oral health care, and we are pleased to be one of the founding organizations of the collaborative,” adds Dr. Valachovic.

IPE involves shared learning experiences among health profession students across disciplines, with the goals of fostering collaboration on clinical teams and improving health outcomes. Leading authorities including the World Health Organization, Institute of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, among others, have all identified IPE as an effective way to enhance the preparation of the health care workforce and improve care delivery. IPEC was created to provide leadership around national initiatives focused on IPE advancement, and to disseminate information on IPE exemplars and collaborative practice innovations.

While taking steps to incorporate as a nonprofit organization, IPEC has successfully collaborated on a number of projects since its formation more than three years ago. In May 2011, IPEC released the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, which identified individual-level core competencies needed by all health professionals to provide integrated, high-quality care. This seminal document has been disseminated broadly to health profession schools and has sparked a wave of implementation efforts by educators looking to prepare clinicians to meet contemporary practice standards.

In addition, the six IPEC organizations were approached in May 2011 to serve on the Steering Committee of the Institute of Medicine’s Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education, which is set to launch later this month. Inspired in large part by the 2010 Lancet Commission report on Health Professionals for the New Century, this forum will convene stakeholders to illuminate issues in health professional education and support an ongoing, innovative mechanism to incubate and evaluate new ideas. The IPEC organizations also served as sponsors of the Collaborating Across Borders (CAB) III conference held in November 2011, which brought together more than 750 government leaders, policy makers, health care professionals, educators, and students with a strong interest in facilitating interprofessional health education and practice

Looking ahead, IPEC will sponsor its first faculty development institute on Designing an Interprofessional Curriculum: Planning, Strategies and Successes on May 21-23, 2012, in Herndon, Va., which is located just outside of Washington, DC. The new IPEC institute will provide faculty from across the health professions with the opportunity to meet with peers in plenary and interactive learning sessions focused on building strong programs for team-based learning. Registration for the May meeting sold out almost as soon as it opened. For program details, logistics, additional information or to join the waitlist, visit the website for the meeting.

More information about the IPEC institute will be available on IPEC’s new website, which is currently under construction, but will be accessible on February 15, 2012, from the AACOM website

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