In only a few short months, ADEA President Sandra C. Andrieu's term will close. Over the course of her term, Dr. Andrieu has been heavily involved in charting the course of the Association for the next few years, laying a foundation that incorporates changes and trends within health care, and positioning ADEA as a prominent leader through the strong application of its strategic objectives.
Dr. Andrieu participated with the ADEA Board of Directors in a series of strategic planning retreats over summer 2010. During the retreats, the Board began laying out the future of the Association over the next three years and identifying the key issues, opportunities, and challenges facing dental education. The Board looked to answer a critical question: "How can ADEA provide leadership in each of these areas?"
Was the Board successful? Ask Dr. Andrieu that question and the answer is a resounding YES! "Through the process the Board identified five critical issues facing dental education today, along with strategic directions for the Association," she told the BDE. Key to the strategies laid out by the Board is the critical importance of interprofessional education (IPE) in the future of health care.
At the conclusion of the summer sessions, Dr. Andrieu believes ADEA is poised to be a leader in IPE within the health care community. "The ADEA Board of Directors believes that the Association is poised to be instrumental in promoting and supporting the practice of Interprofessional Education in oral health care education programs," she said.
When Dr. Andrieu began her term, she identified one of the biggest challenges facing dental education as faculty recruitment and retention, and that IPE would be key in addressing that challenge. "I believe that life is interdependent by nature and that overall health is interdisciplinary in nature," she said last April. "Therefore, the health of the public is better served by health care education programs that are fundamentally interprofessional in design and delivery."
Now that her term is nearly over, she is comfortable to say she is happy with how well IPE has been embraced by the dental education community. "Progress has been made in educating our members on the concept of IPE," she said. "The discussions on the topic of curriculum development have moved on a continuum from the promotion of interdisciplinary education and integration of the basic and clinical sciences in our didactic curricula to a fundamental appreciation of the common elements of IPE: bringing students from two or more professions together in a clinical learning environment focusing on direct patient care, and teaching students by example to respectfully collaborate and communicate with members of other health care professions.
"It is my opinion that IPE is the cornerstone of health professions education that will lead to improved patient outcomes," she continued. "The foundation is 'being poured' within the dental education community, awareness has been created, the process has begun, and there is much work yet to do." She is hopeful that her successors, including ADEA President-elect Leo E. Rouse, Dean of Howard University College of Dental Medicine, will continue to support and grow IPE. "Already the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Association of Schools of Public Health, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, and the American Dental Education Association have joined to form the IPE Collaborative to foster a common vision for patient care that is team-based. An expert panel of the IPE Collaborative, on which Drs. Rouse, Valachovic and I serve, was charged with recommending a set of foundational core competencies for interprofessional-team-based-practice for our health care professions students. The report from this committee will soon be finalized and provide a basis for continuing to build an even stronger foundation for IPE in the health professions."
As her term winds down with the upcoming 2011 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition and its theme of "Interprofessional Education: Teaching and Learning Together for Better Health," Dr. Andrieu hopes she has created an awareness in ADEA and encouraged members to think about oral health care education and something inherently larger than dental education. "I hope that considering the concept of IPE helps us to appreciate that oral health care education is part of a broader, deeper, wider discussion of health care education and that it has a positive impact on patient care," she said.