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IPE Initiative Celebrates First Year Success, Future Plans

In Fall 2017, SHP Dean Kristofer Hagglund appointed Lea Ann Lowery as SHP’s first-ever Faculty Fellow for Interprofessional Education (IPE). In her new role, Lowery took responsibility for examining current IPE initiatives in the school, fostering and maintaining collaborations within and outside SHP to establish and promote IPE activities, and coordinating the strategic planning of IPE activities with faculty, staff and administrators. 

Her first year goals were to introduce students to the concept of IPE to set the expectation for IPE coursework in professional programs and to create an IPE task force of interested faculty, staff and students from a variety of backgrounds.

Lowery’s task force consists of faculty from a wide variety of programs:

  • Keith Belmore, Athletic Training
  • Leanna Lawrence, Communication Science and Disorders
  • Gina Pifer, Occupational Therapy
  • Casey Clay, Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Kathy Moss, Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences
  • Monica Schibig, Respiratory Therapy
  • Connie Blow, Physical Therapy
  • Rosemary Hogan, Health Sciences

The group has been meeting regularly to develop IPE resources and assets and to support a student pilot program that will help build a framework for IPE within the school that meets the needs of each individual program. 

IPE Student Pilot Program

An IPE team led by faculty member Keith Belmore, Athletic Training, works through IPE exercises as part of the pilot program.

Approximately 35 students from six programs (OT, PT, AT, CSD, ABA and Public Health) and four faculty members worked in small teams through a variety of activities including readings, videos, team building activities and clinical cases. The activities were designed to help students get to know more about the other health professions, understand similarities and differences in their respective roles, develop more effective communication strategies, and ideas to help keep clients and patients at the center of their care. The primary outcome has been exploring with the students the logistics of bringing people together from different programs and trying different learning activities together. 

In addition to the student pilot program, the task force has been working on developing an introductory course, creating templates for development of IPE assignments and identifying faculty and staff training needs. The group is also exploring IPE days – a way for students to see interprofessional collaboration as a foundation for how to practice in each health profession.

The group has planned programming to help engage other SHP faculty who want to participate. Dr. Penny Moyers, author of a text on Interprofessional Evidence-Based Practice, will give a talk on Friday, May 11. And a faculty member from the University of South Africa will be here this summer to further help with faculty education related to IPE.