When interprofessional education became an accreditation standard for medical schools, our medical school’s initial response was to find areas and topics in the medical student curriculum where students from other professions could join in. As a result, our IPE curriculum became a hodgepodge of one-off sessions that were focused on medical content rather than IPE competencies. Furthermore, different interprofessional students from various programs would meet for each session and then part ways afterwards, without developing any meaningful connection or relationship.
With the increased importance of IPE for our learners and the shift in the clinical environment to collaborative practice, we acknowledged the need to change both the focus of our sessions and how we provide IPE. Our first step was to shift from having one-off, content-focused IPE sessions to a cohort-based longitudinal IPE thread that focused on the development of the IPEC competencies.
While each institution is different, we hope this talk will provide some considerations for others developing a longitudinal IPE thread. There are many models of IPE educational frameworks; we decided to have four sessions, with each session focused on one of the four IPEC competencies. With the lack of an IPE “home” in the existing curriculum, we needed to borrow time from other courses and add a grading component for IPE in those courses. Since we have two hundred students in one medical school class, we divided our students into three tracks, each with different partner schools, to ensure groups with even numbers of students of different professions. These partners agreed to participate in the four-session thread, so we were able to have the same student groups for each session. This allowed the students to develop familiarity, trust and respect for one another as they progressed through building a core foundation in IPE.