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In response to the critical issues facing the country’s health care system, including limited access to care, nationwide workforce shortages and rising health care delivery costs, professionals from throughout the medical education continuum are collaborating on innovative changes across many dimensions of health professions education. These changes aim to transform U.S. health care into a system that is patient-centered, team-based, and prevention-focused through the implementation of interprofessional education (IPE).

The Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), a group founded by six national health professions associations in February 2012, was created to formalize leadership around national initiatives to advance IPE. The founding members of IPEC include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH).

In May 2012, IPEC hosted its inaugural IPE Faculty Development Institute, which focused on curriculum resources and strategies for advancing IPE. Registration for the event sold out in a matter of hours, and the conference drew more than 150 participants. The high volume of interest surrounding this first institute prompted an encore event in October, again focusing on faculty development. Both events were attended by teams of three to five faculty members from at least three different health professions. Thirteen of AACOM’s 29 member colleges were represented at the second IPE Institute. IPEC is planning on two additional institutes in 2013. The first of these is scheduled for May 19-22, 2013, in Herndon, VA, with a focus on Patient Safety and Quality.

IPEC’s six founding member organizations also helped found the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Global Forum on Innovation in Health ProfessionalEducation, which held a workshop on IPE in November. AACOM President and CEO Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, attended the most recent two-day event, which served as a forum for discussing how to improve health professions education through the study of successful interprofessional models. The IOM Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education was established to assemble stakeholders in order to discuss issues in health professions education and facilitate an ongoing, innovative medium to create and evaluate new ideas.

In addition, on November 29, 2012, the IPEC officially launched its MedEdPORTAL, an innovative online collection of high-quality, peer-reviewed, competency-based learning modules for interprofessional health education. The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the IPEC member organizations supported the project. Based on the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, the portal materials are designed to provide tools to prepare tomorrow’s health professions workforce for interprofessional, team-based, patient-centered, and community- and population-oriented care. Portal material submissions are currently being accepted for peer review and potential addition to the portal. The portal also includes the iCollaborative, where individuals may post innovations without undergoing peer review. Materials posted to the iCollaborative will remain active for three years.

For more information about IPEC and all of AACOM's interprofessional education activities, visit here.

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Dec 2012 / Vol. 6, No. 12
Jan 2013 / Vol. 7, No. 1