Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education
at Washington University Medical Campus

3-Phase Curriculum



The Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education’s Curriculum and Assessment Committee (CAC) has released its new Three-Phase Curriculum Model, which represents a major milestone in teaching learners across the Washington University Medical Campus to work effectively on teams. The first phase of the model launched fall 2019 and focused on how social factors impact health.

The curriculum model is the product of more than two years of discussions between faculty, staff, learners and community and clinical partners across seven professions (audiology, deaf education, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and physical therapy).

“We were tasked with delivering a curriculum that meets accreditation requirements for interprofessional education in our seven professions,” said Heather Hageman, MBA, director of the center. “We seek to develop a curriculum that is forward-thinking, community-based and provides added value to existing clinical operations.”

As a collaboration of the schools on the Washington University Medical Campus (Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis), the center’s Curriculum and Assessment Committee includes faculty and student representatives from each of the seven professions. The committee was created to design, review and evaluate the center’s interprofessional education curriculum and learner assessment in collaboration with individual programs and make data-driven recommendations for curricular revisions.

The committee started by defining program goals based on those created by the Interprofessional Educational Consortium (IPEC), a national organization responsible for guiding curriculum development for health professions schools across the U.S. and developing an overall curriculum framework.

The curriculum framework is being operationalized through a Three-Phase IPE Curriculum Model.

  • Phase I: The Introductory phase is designed to help interprofessional students assess and learn about the social determinants of health affecting patients/clients in the St. Louis community. Phase I contains three activities: a launching activity, a team formation activity, and a culminating activity.
  • Phase II: The Developmental phase is designed to intentionally match students where their professions naturally intersect. In this phase, learners will complete a selection of passport activities. Existing activities on topics such as transitions of care, ethics and proper use of inhalers could become passport activities.
  • Phase III: The At Graduation phase is designed to provide students with a final IPE experience. Details on the structure of this phase are still being determined.

Last fall, key stakeholders were invited to participate in a retreat where their feedback on the Three-Phase Curriculum Model was solicited. During the retreat, stakeholders and Committee members discussed how best to engage students. They ultimately decided to conduct a Poverty Simulation as the Phase I Launching Activity, capitalizing on the fact that many programs already have this activity in their curriculums.

“We really wanted an activity that would help students see that poverty is real and that it’s something they need to understand on a deep level without burdening the community,” said Dennis Chang, M.D., associate professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine and Interprofessional Education MD Thread Director at Washington University in St. Louis, and chair of the CIPE Curriculum and Assessment Committee.

The Committee is currently gathering additional student and faculty input on Phase I. In addition, the center has partnered with the Brown School Evaluation Center at Washington University in St. Louis to carefully monitor development and implementation.

“This is an example of true iterative curriculum design,” said Chang. “In the iterative process, you know that the idea you start with will change as stakeholders continue to provide input, and this input is hugely valuable to making the curriculum the best it can be.”

As the current president of the Health Professional Student Leadership Council, St. Louis College of Pharmacy P3 student Yoon Lee had the unique opportunity to serve on the Committee and provide her input on the development of Phase I. 

“Serving on the CAC has been a pretty eye-opening experience,” said Lee. “From a student perspective, the idea of making personal connections across the professions is very important, and I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities there will be for students to connect as part of Phase I.”

In the coming months, the Committee will finalize specific plans for the three Phase I activities, including the interprofessional intentionality of the poverty simulation, as well as details of the team formation and culminating activities.

“This is a very exciting time for the center, our partners and the students across all of our professions,” said Hageman. “There are many big changes on the horizon, and we can’t wait to unveil what’s to come.”

Shelene Treptow, Assistant Director, Public Relations, Marketing and Communication, St. Louis College of Pharmacy