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

BioPreparedness Exercise:
Now interprofessional, this mass emergency-preparedness exercise is hosted by the U-M School of Public Health, in collaboration with other U-M health sciences schools, the Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education, Washtenaw County Public Health, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

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.

Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking within Health Care Settings:
Interdisciplinary problem-solving course in which health science students will develop innovations to increase the identification of victims of human trafficking in health care settings. 

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.

Introduction to IPE:
This is a new learning module piloted in 2017. Students in the health professions watch an Intro to IPE video and complete an online assignment that allows them to reflect on their own professional perspective while learning about the perspectives of their peers.

MOOC – Understanding and Improving the U.S. Health Care System:
This MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) for U-M students is offered on its own or embedded at some schools to increase students’ confidence in their understanding of the health care system.

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.

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:
Began as a medical student co-curricular; expanded in Fall 2016 for nursing students and in Fall 2017 for dentistry, pharmacy and other students. 

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