Student peer facilitation is an invaluable active learning approach in interprofessional education that positively influences student engagement and learning, as well as enhances communication and teamwork skills among future health care providers. Evidence shows that student facilitators are more attuned to the needs and experiences of their peers and that when students make personal connections to support each other they are more receptive to learning. Exposing students to peer facilitators from different professions fosters respect and understanding of another discipline’s roles and responsibilities, and shapes attitudes and behaviors for effective interprofessional collaborative practice.
At the MGH Institute of Health Professions (IHP), a new interprofessional peer facilitator program was developed by an occupational therapy doctoral student and subsequently embedded into the Institute’s required interprofessional curriculum to optimize practice in the interprofessional clinical learning environment. The term “facilitator” is key to student learning and development in the program. Peer facilitators are not seen as educators in the traditional sense, but rather interprofessional champions helping students reach the course objectives through personal connection while drawing on their own recent experiences in the program to encourage collaboration, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
This Lightning Talk will describe the development of an interprofessional peer facilitator program, the application process for students, and potential funding sources. Presenters, representing both faculty and peer facilitators, will also discuss the challenges and lessons learned, as well as preliminary outcomes. Each presenter will share their unique role and respective experiences, highlight the value of the program in interprofessional education, and demonstrate its impact on shaping attitudes and behaviors for team-readiness and effective client-centered collaborative practice.