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UW College of Health Sciences Moves Toward Consistent Interprofessional Education Experience for Students

January 26, 2021

A committee of educators from the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences and Wyoming Center on Aging (WyCOA) is preparing to develop a consistent, interprofessional education experience for students from all divisions and schools throughout the college.

Interprofessional education involves students and educators from two or more professions in health and social care learning together during all or part of their professional training. The goal is to cultivate collaborative practice for providing client- or patient-centered health care.

To advance the committee’s initiatives, several members recently attended the T3 Interprofessional Team Development Program. The T3 program is an immersive leadership training program in designing and implementing effective interprofessional education projects.

Attendees were Lauren Biehle, a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice in the School of Pharmacy; Catherine Carrico, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Psychology and WyCOA; Billie Chapman, a field education director in the Division of Social Work; Canyon Hardesty, an associate lecturer in the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND); and Katelyn Kotlarek, an assistant professor in the Division of Communication Disorders.

Carrico says interprofessional training provides invaluable time to collaborate with College of Health Sciences colleagues while receiving guidance and mentoring from an experienced interprofessional team of faculty.

“This opportunity is sure to advance interprofessional education at UW,” she says.

The College of Health Sciences is the second-largest college on the UW campus and includes the divisions of Communication Disorders, Kinesiology and Health Promotion, and Social Work, as well as the schools of Pharmacy and Nursing and the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) Medical Education Program. WIND also provides a minor in disability studies.

David Jones, the dean of the College of Health Sciences, values interprofessional education for its service to Wyoming and beyond.

The T3 conference offered the opportunity to learn best practices from experts and focus on the design of interprofessional education initiatives for the College of Health Sciences, Biehle says.

“Our intention is to design a consistent and integrated experience for all of our College of Heath Sciences graduates,” she says. “We outlined short-term and long-term goals to facilitate development of our students into collaboration-ready practitioners.”

Specific goals of the College of Health Sciences interprofessional education committee are in line with college and university leadership.

“It is important that our vision advances the university’s ‘four pillars’ priorities, which include becoming more interdisciplinary and aim to bring value back to the state of Wyoming,” Kotlarek says. “Our interprofessional education initiatives will help provide state-of-the-art training to the future health care professionals of Wyoming.”

These pillars, as outlined by UW President Ed Seidel, include UW being not only more interdisciplinary, but also more digital, entrepreneurial and inclusive.

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