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U-M Announces Awards to Transform Education Across Schools and Curricula

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A University of Michigan (U-M) initiative designed to transform the learning environment for students has awarded funding to three faculty groups. Two years ago, U-M announced the Third Century Initiative, which challenged faculty to develop innovative, multi-disciplinary teaching and scholarship approaches in advance of the school’s bicentennial in 2017.

The university has awarded three faculty groups funding under the first round of transformation grants as part of its Transforming Learning for the Third Century (TLTC) program. A $3 million grant was bestowed to the Health Sciences for a project called "Interprofessional Health Education and Collaborative Care." The TLTC grant was matched by the deans from the seven health sciences schools—College of Pharmacy, School of Dentistry, Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Social Work, School of Nursing and School of Kinesiology.

The five-year, $6 million program will work to transform the way faculty teach more than 4,000 health professions students, with the ultimate goals of improving the patient experience, population health and the cost of health care.

The Steering Committee for Interprofessional Education, led by Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, D.D.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the U-M School of Dentistry, submitted the winning proposal, Interprofessional Health Education and Collaborative Care: A Transformative Model for the Health Sciences. The U-M grant is designed to change how the health sciences are taught by breaking down the traditional silo approach to education. Instead, collaborative learning will be emphasized among faculty and students in efforts designed to ultimately enhance patient care.

Dr. Kinch says, “students’ learning will be enriched by the diversity of perspectives they will experience as part of interprofessional teams of students being taught by interprofessional teams of faculty.”

“Current practice is that we train our students within our own school’s walls, and then after graduation we tell them to work with other health care professionals as a team without them ever having interacted with those professionals as students,” says Bruce Mueller, PharmD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the U-M College of Pharmacy.

The proposal calls for faculty development to allow them to transform the culture of health education into one in which interprofessional course work is seen as a commonplace.

“Our students' learning will be enriched by the diversity of perspectives they will experience as part of interprofessional teams of students being taught by interprofessional teams of faculty,” said Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, associate dean for academic affairs, Dentistry. 

Organizers said the plan would change the culture of health education and practice at U-M, and create a different kind of health care professional.

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