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Highlighting IPE Faculty at UW - Taryn Lindhorst

Taryn Lindhorst, UW School of Social Work

Taryn Lindhorst, PhD, LCSW
Associate Professor of Social Work, UW School of Social Work

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                                                                                                                                                                                                             Taryn Lindhorst, PhD, LCSW is the Carol LaMare Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Washington. Prior to receiving her doctorate in 2001, Dr. Lindhorst spent 15 years providing social work services in public health settings in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her research focuses on violence against women, health and policy implementation. Dr. Lindhorst’s work on the effects of welfare reform for battered women has won three national awards. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Justice and the William T. Grant Foundation. In addition to numerous journal articles, she has published two books, The Safety Net Health Care System: Practice at the Margins (with Gunnar Almgren) and Women and Children Seeking Safety: A Study of Domestic Violence and the International Hague Convention (with Jeffrey Edleson). Dr. Lindhorst teaches courses in qualitative and mixed methods research, health practice, and social work history and policy. Dr. Lindhorst is currently studying the integration of victimization research into practice, relationship violence among sexual minority youth, and professional communication in an intensive healthcare setting.

Why (and how) did you get involved with IPE?

Dr. Lindhorst: “My first practice experience in 1987 was as a social worker on a hospice team comprised of a medical director, nurses, medical assistants, a pharmacist, pastoral care and volunteers. I was trained into interprofessional practice before the term existed! Back then, we called it the interdisciplinary team.

Medical social workers have as their most basic responsibility assuring that patients and families are able to have their needs met, whether in the hospital or community. This focus requires that social workers work effectively with medical providers, nurses and other professionals to understand what is happening with the patient in order to anticipate what help this person and family will need. I believe social workers are the "diplomats" of interprofessional teams -- relaying information back and forth between providers and patients/families.”

What do you believe are the benefits of IPE?

Dr. Lindhorst: “No one is hatched out of an egg knowing how to practice in a team! These are important skills that are not usually taught, but people are expected to know how to deploy them upon entrance into the workforce. Interprofessional education that provides some scaffolding on the cultural issues that are barriers to team communication (issues such as power, communication styles, values), and processes of group dynamics are essential in today's health care environment. Very few people have problems that can be solved simply by only person -- most of us who fall ill will require the help of people from multiple professions and perspectives. It is of vital importance that these teams know how to work together to bring out the best in each team member.”

What has been the most memorable experience/highlight of teaching IPE so far?

Dr. Lindhorst: “I would say there are three. First, I love working with the team members in both the UW Advanced Practice IPE group and the UW IPE Communications Subcommittee Meeting. I have made great connections through these efforts and several of my newfound colleagues are coming to my classes, or I am going to theirs for future events. Second, I am reminded that many of us who are faculty are not as far along as some of our students in understanding how to ensure that the perspectives of all individuals are being heard! And third, when I hear students in the SW program talk about how important it has been to them to have a chance to talk with other professionals about their backgrounds and roles and to share that information about themselves, I get excited again about what we are trying to do with IPE.”