Assessing Interprofessional Bias Between First-year Pharmacy and Medical Students Through a Collaborative Interprofessional Education Session in the Gross Anatomy Laboratory
Interdisciplinary healthcare teams have become essential in the management of increasingly complex patient care. Personal bias towards other health professions may impede a healthcare team’s ability to provide efficient patient care, despite the recognition by these professionals that collaboration is vital. It has been reported that healthcare students may hold prejudices against students of other health professional programs as early as the first year in their degree program. Our project aims to assess if first-year pharmacy and medical students hold bias towards one another based on their choice of profession. First-year pharmacy and medical students (N=65) from the Medical College of Wisconsin were assessed on their biases towards one another after completing an interprofessional education session in the gross anatomy laboratory. The session consisted of interdisciplinary teams of medical and pharmacy students completing activities at stations including hands-on exam of human brain and skull specimens, a body donor spinal cord dissection and a central nervous system (CNS) images on an Anatomage table. Medical students with prior gross anatomy lab experience acclimated pharmacy students to the anatomy laboratory; while pharmacy students who were introduced to the CNS, taught medical students basic CNS structures - a future topic in the medical school curriculum. Students collaborated on a team-based challenge question at each station. Afterwards, all students completed an evaluation survey. Interprofessional bias was assessed using the Interprofessional Collaborative Competencies Attainment Survey (ICCAS) with additional questions specifically targeting interprofessional bias. 89.23% of students agreed post-session that interdisciplinary teams are beneficial for providing quality patient care, while 55.38% of students agreed that prejudices about healthcare students from other disciplines can negatively impact delivery of healthcare. Pre-session, 50.76% of students agreed that students from other healthcare disciplines have prejudices about them; that percentage was reduced to 38.64% post-session. We confirm that health professional students may enter degree programs with preconceived biases against students of other health professions, but that participation in interprofessional education sessions in their program curriculum may reduce these biases. Medical and pharmacy programs should continue to offer IPE sessions in their curriculum to reduce bias.