Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education
at Washington University Medical Campus

Winter 2018 Newsletter

The Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at Washington University Medical Campus publishes a quarterly newsletter to share updates and professional development opportunities. For questions or to join our mailing list, contact the center!

In This Issue

Select a story below to jump directly to that section.

Winter 2018 Newsletter

A Great Opportunity to Learn about Interprofessional Education at the National Level

Deborah Birk, PhD, RN, MHA, NEA-BC, assistant professor at the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College is a participant in a pilot peer faculty mentoring program hosted by the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative (AIHC) in cooperation with the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.

The faculty mentor program was developed to address the pressing need to help faculty prepare for success in interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP). Only seven mentor and mentee pairs from across the country were chosen for this pilot program. The goals were to evaluate the format to determine if it could be expanded. Birk was paired with Elizabeth Tanner, PhD, RN, FAAN, from the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University.

The program began with a webinar in which valuable resources were shared to assist mentor and mentee pairs. Items provided included a template to develop interprofessional education (IPE) goals and a toolkit for the mentoring program. Organizers shared articles related to mentoring and the mentor-mentee relationship. Numerous other resources were provided through webinars and online discussion boards with the goal of helping to familiarize mentees with IPE education at other institutions. The webinars and discussion boards featured participation from individuals nationwide from all professions, including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Each pair created goals, which ranged from exploring educational topics or projects to performing research. Birk's goals included  exploring IPE curriculum at other universities, understanding how IPE can be incorporated into current curriculum and designing a leadership IPE project for accelerated students in nursing. Each pair progressed at their own pace in setting and refining goals and  developing the mentoring relationship. Mentors encouraged their mentees to develop a project. As part of that process, the pairs spent time exploring what types of projects interested mentees, and how they could research those topics.

During the first few months of the pilot program, time was spent exploring IPE at other institutions and becoming more familiar with the IPE at the mentee’s own institution. The Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at Washington University Medical Campus was invaluable as Birk began to set goals for the pilot program. Birk met with pharmacy faculty to discuss a project that will initally involve a leadership simulation for nursing and pharmacy students, and will be expanded to include other professions in the future.

Overall, the pilot program was a huge success. The most valuable part of the program for Birk was the identification of the vast resources available related to IPE. These resources were utilized in developing and implementing the goals set during the program. Development of the mentor relationship was another positive aspect of the program. Birk continues to communicate with her mentor and rely on her for expertise in simulation and IPE.

“The insight that my mentor shared was invaluable in shaping my future goals related to IPE,” said Birk. “The lessons learned from the pilot program are now being used to develop a more comprehensive program for AIHC to use in the future to assist in developing IPE faculty.”

Independent Living Center Pilot

Pharmacy and occupational therapy students got a first-hand look at health disparities through a pilot program in the fall semester. Interprofessional teams of three to four students met with older volunteers who live in local senior apartment complexes. They visited the complexes with the volunteers to learn about disparities. Students said the interprofessional aspect was crucial.

One participating student noted,  “I have learned that working as a team helps to cover all bases.”

The goals of this experience were for students to learn how differences between individuals, groups, and communities contribute to health disparities, and to evaluate how interprofessional teams can improve access to health care and promote health where there are systematic disadvantages.

The program started with an orientation at each campus at the beginning of the semester to walk the students through expectations and tasks for each visit. The student teams visited each volunteer’s community twice. Prior to their first visit, students independently completed a neighborhood assessment of their volunteer’s community to become more familiar with the resources available. The teams were also asked to carpool together to and from each visit to help facilitate discussion before the visits, and to reflect together after the visits. After the second visit, the student teams were separated and placed into new small groups of up to 12 students for a discussion debrief in November. This debrief was led by either a pharmacy or occupational therapy facilitator.

All students were asked to complete an anonymous post-experience survey (completed survey n = 103/200). Two-thirds of the students (68%) felt this experience was strengthened by learning with other professional students.

Other findings from the survey noted the following:

  • More than half the students felt an orientation was considered “helpful” prior to the experience beginning. However, more explicit and clear expectations going into both visits are necessary for students to understand what is expected of them.
  • More than a third (39%) of the students agreed the neighborhood assessment prior to the first visit was helpful.
  • More than half of the students felt their team communicated well prior to (63%) and after (64%) each visit.
  • 57% of the students thought their communication skills (either between professions and/or with patient volunteers) increased due to the experience.
  • 68% of the students felt the discussion with other students (and a facilitator) was worthwhile to the experience; 79% agreed the facilitator of their discussion helped to enhance the experience.

In reviewing the program and feedback from students and volunteers, program coordinators listed the following lessons they wanted students to learn during this opportunity:

  • Experience the home environment and see firsthand social determinants of health
  • Consider the strengths of a community, places, and institutions/organizations
  • Share space with another professional and show them what your profession is all about
  • Conduct an in-depth interview to employ clinical reasoning to determine roles
  • Contemplate societal access to healthy living and its role in longevity, even with multiple chronic diseases: living 80-100 years of life, ageism
  • Learn to handle the logistics of working with real-life individuals and teams, which can be a frustrating, but real part of daily professional life in any clinical setting


Christine Berg, Ph.D., OTR/L, Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University School of Medicine
Stephanie M. Crist, Pharm.D., BCACP, BCGP, St. Louis College of Pharmacy

Center Team Members Head to the Mountains

The sixth biannual Collaborating Across Borders (CAB) IPE conference was held Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2017 in Banff, Alberta, Canada. When I was invited to join Gloria Grice from St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Heather Hageman from the Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, Dehra Harris from Washington University School of Medicine and Angela McConachie and Judy Smith from Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, I must admit I was equally excited about the opportunity and the location. The conference and venue certainly lived up to all expectations.

CAB is North America’s premier interprofessional health care education and collaborative practice conference that links educators, researchers, practitioners, students and patients. This year, more than 600 presenters and attendees from nine different countries attended sessions around four themes: education, practice, leadership and policy. Our group represented the larger Standardized Patient IPE Experience facilitator team and presented a workshop to train attendees to use the Relational Communication Scale to rate student team behaviors as they interacted with each other to plan care for a standardized patient. Use of this practical tool allows facilitators to coach teams for success and provide specific behavioral recommendations for interprofessional teamwork.

Day one kicked off with an inspiring and provocative opening keynote address by Dr. Lorelei Lingard. She said the goal of her presentation, titled "Are we training for collective incompetence," was to make us productively uncomfortable. She challenged the audience to shift its focus to promoting collective (versus individual) competence by building our students’ awareness of what other team members know, teaching trainees to adjust to contextual constraints and providing experiences that foster collaborative problem solving and build relationships with team members.

This was followed by three jam-packed days. Major take-home points relative to IPE in general included:

  • The importance of the alignment of education and needs of health care system
  • The notion that clinical sites benefit from having coaches and IPE students with goals and objectives to improve their teamwork skills (as well as the students’ skills)
  • The necessity of buy-in throughout all levels of the organization and the need to retain valued IPE faculty through perks and feedback
  • Speakers were generous with regards to sharing barriers to quality IPE, such as leadership changes, time demands, financial constraints and student schedules

Other standout presentations described the nuts and bolts of immersing student interprofessional teams in clinical sites. Critical components of these experiences included commitment of all participating institutions to identify common time slots, extensive vetting and grooming of practice sites, training of facilitators and on-site health care professionals, and on-site monitoring. Presentations described geriatric and primary care clinic experiences for interprofessional teams of students.

Preparing for our workshop and attending this conference proved to be an interprofessional team building experience for me as well. Although I have had the pleasure of working with Heather, Gloria, Dehra, Judy and Angela for a number of years, I truly enjoyed getting to know them on a more personal level. I feel very fortunate to be involved with the center and look forward to continuing to work together to promote collaborative practice.

Monica Perlmutter, OTD, OTR/L, SCLV, FAOTA, Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University School of Medicine

A Day in the Life of a Pharmacy Student

Suzie Chen has always wanted to pursue a career in health care. In 2014, that desire led her to St. Louis College of Pharmacy, where she embarked on her journey to become a pharmacist.

Chen is currently completing the College’s Pharm.D. program, which features a combination of elective and selective coursework that allows students to explore pharmacy-related topics in depth, along with Introductory and Advanced Practice Experiences that extend learning from the classroom to pharmacy practice settings, giving students opportunities to care for patients.

Now in her third professional year of the program, Chen’s college experience has been anything but typical. From her involvement in St. Louis’ music community to serving as president of the interprofessional Health Professional Student Leadership Council (HPSLC) and working as a pharmacy intern, Chen is a balancing an aggressive course load with numerous extracurricular activities.

On an “average” day, her mornings are spent in class, while her afternoons and evenings are devoted to music rehearsals, HPSLC meetings, work on research projects and studying. Every other weekend and one weekday, Chen also works up to 24 hours in the pharmacy at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, where she has interned since her first professional year.

Chen says much of her work so far in the Pharm.D. program has focused on the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of disease states.

“I think there is a perception that pharmacy students spend most of their time learning about medications,” said Chen. “But like medical students and other health professions students, we have to also learn about different disease states so that we are able to best treat them.”

Chen says that one of her favorite courses in the Pharm.D. program has been pharmacology, which educated her on the mechanisms of action of medications and how they work in the body. Additional classes she’s completed have included medicinal chemistry, which examines the molecular structure of medications; pathophysiology, which examines the clinical manifestations of disease states; and a therapeutics course sequence on integrating medications and using them to manage disease states.

Outside the classroom, Chen promotes interprofessional collaboration among health professions through her role as president of HPSLC. Focused on the extracurricular side of interprofessionalism, HPSLC works with the Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education to encourage and advance collaboration between the health professions members working in the Washington University Medical Campus.

“I wanted to go into pharmacy so that I could work with other health professionals,” said Chen. “When I heard about HPSLC, I was very interested because it is so in line with what I see myself doing in the future.”

Off-campus, Chen pursues her love of music, singing with the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis Cathedral Choir, playing flute and piccolo with the Washington University Symphony Orchestra and participating in the College’s concert band.

“I do the things I do because I enjoy them,” said Chen. “It’s important to make time to pursue your interests because when you put effort into things you love, it can open doors for you.”

In May 2018, Chen will begin the clinical portion of the professional program. She will be on clinical rotations throughout the year, and will receive her Pharm.D. in 2019.

Announcing the Master Interprofessional Educator Certificate

Calling all interprofessional champions! The Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education's professional development goal is to create a core cadre of well-trained IPE educators across our seven educational programs. In doing so, they will meet accreditation standards, produce scholarship and enhance the education culture to best prepare learners to practice in interprofessional settings throughout their careers.

If this is of interest to you, the first step is to complete our upcoming IPE 101 Workshop to be held on Friday, Feb. 23.

Register online now >

NOTE: If you attended the University of Toronto’s ehpic® training in February 2017, you’ve already completed this requirement.

To become a Master Interprofessional Educator, professionals must also:

  • Attend the center’s IPE 201: Managing Challenging Scenarios Workshop – putting IPE 101 into practice!
  • Participate in at least three continuing education events at the center per academic year (July-June). (IPE 201 counts as a workshop in the first year.) These could include:
  • Deliver quality teaching in at least one center-sponsored IPE activity per academic year (July-June). Activities include:
    • First-Year IPE Experience (must participate in all 3 two-hour sessions for a given semester).
    • Standardized Patient Team Experience.
    • Center Curriculum Development Team experiences (e.g., Independent Living Center Experience or Transitions of Care Experience).
    • Other activities as developed by the center.
Those educators who have already fulfilled the above requirements will be invited to become Master Interprofessional Educators in the spring. If you have questions, you can ask one of the members of the center's Professional Development Team
  • Rebecca Stauffer (St. Louis College of Pharmacy)
  • Judy Smith (Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College)
  • Colleen Wallace (Washington University School of Medicine)
  • Heather Hageman (Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at Washington University Medical Campus)

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities

Interprofessional Building Inclusive Communities
Jan. 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
St. Louis College of Pharmacy
Register to attend >

IPE 101
Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Louis College of Pharmacy
Learn more and register to attend >