Academic communities are changing their curricula to provide personalized medicine and patient-centered and collaborative care that will improve patient satisfaction and, ultimately, health outcomes. Interprofessional education (IPE) is a catalyst for changes in health education throughout the United States and
globally. These changes involve academic preparation, patient diagnostics, and coordinated delivery of care by multi-disciplinary teams. At the same time, sex-differences research is increasing the body of knowledge related to women’s health and gender differences in disease processes and health outcomes.
The national imperative for IPE, interprofessional practice and collaborative care provided an opportunity for women leaders across five health disciplines to come together to identify curricular gaps in women’s health and develop cross-disciplinary interventions and patient-centered care strategies for
women’s health across the lifespan. Following is a description of the meeting and the preliminary results.
The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health co-sponsored a convening titled “Women’s Health in Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care” on June 26 at the ADEA headquarters in Washington, DC. The one-day meeting was organized using
web-based technology and leadership teams representing five clinical disciplines: medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Four of the disciplines—medicine, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy—had prior Women’s Health Curriculum Study Reports funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). These reports and data from subsequent relevant research provided the evidence base for planning and deliberations.1-6
A professional facilitator coordinated the five teams ahead of the meeting using virtual technology and a logic model format. Each discipline team completed an online survey that identified specific gaps in IPE content related to women’s health. The survey structure was consistent with disease and other categories
used in the NIH/HRSA women’s health curriculum surveys and reports.2–4
The five teams (four members each except for pharmacy, which had five members) then met for one day in working groups/team sessions with three objectives:
- Identify IPE strategies for curriculum changes in the delivery of collaborative care.
- Produce a logic model plan for curriculum development, implementation and evaluation.
- Develop a paradigm for curriculum development for equitable good health and patient-centered care for women across the life span.
The teams used a logic model tool to develop interprofessional approaches that identified (1) strategies (priority, rational, action), (2) inputs (what is invested), (3) outputs (what are target audiences or population groups), and (4) outcomes/impact (incremental events/changes realized as the result of
outputs). Team leaders (or designees) presented their group reports to all attendees.
Although the survey sample was small, curriculum content areas arose that are worthy of continued review across the five disciplines:
- Sexual and reproductive function
- Etiology, prevalence, course treatment, and prevention
- Impact of the use of medications
Cross-cutting issues for interprofessional collaboration that emerged during group discussions included:
- Opioid crisis
- LGBTQ health
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Marketing of drugs for women
- Marketing of drugs for minorities
- Legal implications for disease control
- Ethical implications for health professionals
- Breast feeding and oral health
- The nurse practitioner in the health team
- Obesity and population health
- Gender explicit bias
The top three data sources used as teaching resources to advance women’s health curricula were MedEdPORTAL®, professional/scholarly journals, and NIH reports.
The anticipated long-term or distal outcomes from implementing collaborative care in women’s health across the health professions include:
- Health policies that promote women’s health, improve health of children and families, and extend the lifespan of women.
- Women/sex/gender incorporated into all aspects of precision health, access to care (physical sites and insurance coverage) and legislative equity.
- Gap closed between women who are “healthy” and “unhealthy.”
- Women’s vitality increased throughout the lifespan.
- Issues raised related to health inequity, racism in women’s health, discriminatory primary care and access are addressed by academic leadership and practitioners.
- Awareness raised of environmental impacts on women’s health.
- Women empowered to make informed decisions about their health and health care.
- Funding increased to support research on women’s health and interprofessional collaborative primary care models.
The logic models produced by the five working groups are strategy tools that are being edited for reporting and distribution. Outcomes are expected to be realized via implementation strategies developed in the team group sessions.
Paradigms for women’s health in curriculum development and implementation are included in instructional resources submitted by attendees.
The convening report and logic model plans and strategies for medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and public health will be widely disseminated electronically to health and allied professions schools and organizations to use in curriculum development, collaborative care, experiential treatment and learning.
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health. Agenda for Research on Women’s Health for the 21st Century, Volume 7. New Frontiers in Women’s Health. NIH Publication No. 01-4391. Bethesda, MD: Authors, 2001. At:
https://permanent.access.gpo.gov/lps65998/agenda_book_7.pdf (Accessed Oct. 30, 2018).
2. Hambleton BB, Pinn VW. Women’s Health in the Medical School Curriculum: Report of a Survey and Recommendations. Publication No. HRSA-A-OEA-96-1. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institutes of Health, 1996.
3. Silverton S, Sinkford J, Inglehart M, et al. Women’s Health in the Dental School Curriculum: Report of a Survey and Recommendations. NIH publication No. 99-4399. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, 1999. At:
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED449699.pdf (Accessed Oct. 30, 2018).
4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institutes of Health. Women’s Health in the Baccalaureate Nursing School Curriculum: Report of a Survey and Recommendations. Rockville, MD: Authors, 1998. At:
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED464547.pdf (Accessed Oct. 30, 2018).
5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institutes of Health. Health Professions Training, Education and Competency: Women’s Health in the Pharmacy School Curriculum. Rockville, MD: Authors, 2005. At:
https://permanent.access.gpo.gov/lps108691/pharmacyschool.pdf (Accessed Oct. 30, 2018).
6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Women’s Health. Women’s Health Curricula: Final Report on Expert Panel Recommendations for Interprofessional Collaboration Across the Health
Professions. Rockville, MD: Authors, 2013. At:
https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/about/organization/bureaus/owh/report111413.pdf (Accessed Oct. 30, 2018).
C. Sinkford, D.D.S., Ph.D., Richard W. Valachovic, D.D.S., M.P.H., Joseph F.
Published on November 14,