Students at Health Professions Day poster session

Interprofessional Education

Better Together

Interprofessional education leads to higher functioning health care teams.

Interprofessional education (IPE) breaks down the traditional silos of health care learning. Students from different professions work together to reach a common goal: improve patient health outcomes.

With this foundation of collaboration earlier in your training, you will be better prepared to function effectively in any team.

The Michigan curriculum integrates IPE in all four years. In the first year, these encounters take place within the Interprofessional Clinical Experience. You will learn from health care professionals in both inpatient and outpatient settings to better understand their roles. These include child life specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, physical therapists, social workers and many others.

Interprofessional student experiences are continuously expanding. To allow for collaboration between students across all of the University's health profession schools, each school has designated protected time for required IPE courses, electives or other opportunities. You might learn alongside a PharmD student in the emergency room, or a nursing student while shadowing a floor nurse in the hospital. Creating more opportunities for Michigan med students to interact with other health profession students is one of our top goals.

Current Courses

Interprofessional Clinical Experience (ICE):
Places medical students into clinical experience early in their career to introduce them to the patient, health care team and health care system. Students actively engage with various health professionals who work at that clinical site. Dentistry students are participating as a pilot to include other health science students.

Breaking Bad News:
A fourth-year medical student Standardized Patient Interaction modified to include social work students. The learning module was updated to include the roles of both specialties, and together the students practice breaking bad news in a simulated clinical scenario.

Ethical Dilemmas in Health for Social Work and Other Health Professions:
From protecting human rights in biomedical research, to equity of health care services, to impact of new technologies, this graduate-level course approaches bioethics in relation to health care decisions and quality of life.

Geriatric Medicine – Team-Based Approach:
This session provides training in geriatrics within the context of interprofessional, team-based care to medicine and pharmacy students. Learners work through a case that will require a team-based approach in determining the plan, differentials, and disposition. In addition to increasing knowledge of geriatric medicine, students will learn to strengthen skills within interprofessional team-based care, including greater awareness of roles and responsibilities, communication skills and shared decision making.

Problem Solving Initiative Courses:
The University of Michigan Law School’s Problem Solving Initiative classes are open to all UM graduate and professional students. Through team-based, experiential, and interdisciplinary work, health science students collaborate with one another and with faculty to engage in problem solving around complex, pressing issues such as increasing the identification of victims of human trafficking in health care settings, reducing brain injuries in youth football and reducing firearm violence in urban communities.

Introduction to IPE/IPE in Action:
Students will engage in self-reflection, as well as learn about, from and with other health professions students on issues such as improving health outcomes, addressing population health issues, and reducing health care costs. Other students involved are from the schools of dentistry, kinesiology, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy and social work. As part of this experience, students also collaborate in small group sessions with other health professions students by engaging in case scenarios working through real-life questions based on a complex care case facilitated by faculty.

MOOC – Understanding and Improving the U.S. Health Care System:
This MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) introduces health science students to American health policy and the role of providers, patients, payers and public health advocates. Students from the schools of dentistry, medicine, public health, nursing and pharmacy participate in online modules and then a one-time in person session where students will be split into small groups to work through a case.

Motivational Interviewing:
Professional-level students from the U-M health science schools take this workshop series, which focuses on communication with patients, families, communities and professionals to support a team approach for the promotion and maintenance of health and the prevention and treatment of disease.

Patient Safety/Quality Improvement:
Students from the schools of dentistry, medicine and nursing are introduced to the structured scientific problem solving method using A3 thinking in order to connect the scientific method and the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Students will work in interdisciplinary small groups using this method to analyze a problem.

Service-Learning for Health Professionals:
This service-based course explores issues of health disparities, poverty, and the medically underserved. It allows for students to use their knowledge of professional roles to address health care needs and perform effectively in team roles to plan and deliver patient/population-centered care. It is open to students of all health professions.

Student-Run Free Clinic:
This is a free clinic located in Pinckney, Michigan that provides primary care services to around 500 uninsured and underinsured adults in Livingston County each year. Began as a medical student co-curricular; expanded in Fall 2016 for nursing students and in Fall 2017 for dentistry, pharmacy and public health.

Team-Based Clinical Decision Making:
Large-scale interprofessional course designed for students in dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work. Boosts understanding of how each discipline contributes to health care teams, the importance of effective communication, and the role of collaboration in clinical decision making. Student teams rotate through modules taught at all five schools by interdisciplinary pairs of faculty.

Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education

The Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education focuses on creating new ways for health care students to learn together. Students give their input through IPE town halls, organizations, competitions and events.

Students see the value in working with other health care professionals. Their preconceived notions are challenged. They learn a lot spending time with them in the clinic and seeing what they do for patients. These are the people that they're going to be relying on.

Joseph House, M.D., Assistant Professor, Pediatric Emergency Medicine; Director, Medical Student Program; and Director, Interprofessional Education