Sustainability, Growth and Engagement

May 31, 2019

2018-2019 Recap of IPE at the University of Washington 

The 2018-19 academic year marked the third year of centralized Board of Deans support for the IPE initiative at University of Washington.  We’ve been keeping busy, coordinating over 25 events that took place in the classroom and community settings. We are proud to share that 1000+ health science students participated in CHSIE-coordinated IPE programming throughout the academic year!

Sustaining What Works

An important goal of the UW Center for Health Sciences Interprofessional Education, Research & Practice (CHSIE) is to sustain high quality programming. The Foundations for Interprofessional Practice is a three-session series that launched in 2014, and serves the important need of meeting specific accreditation requirements for several health science programs.  It is a herculean task to coordinated over 500 students and nearly 100 volunteer facilitators, who meet in 30 classrooms, one afternoon per quarter, at the same time!  With each year of running this program, we become more graceful.  This year, students from medicine, physician assistant, nursing, social work, health administration, dentistry, dietetics, and pharmacy participated in sessions that occurred quarterly throughout the academic year.

In October 2018, students learned together about a hospitalized patient named Doris, who had different opinions on her health and healthcare than most of her health care providers.  The case brought up team and ethical conflicts that can arise when differing perceptions of health come into play, and student teams had to work together to determine how best to provide care for Doris.  In February 2019, teams gathered for a second time to discuss pediatric oral health disparities, and they applied the Social Ecological Model to a case of a young girl who presented in the Emergency Department with severe dental caries.  In May 2019 students participated in a simulated error disclosure, in which students discussed a medication error together and then participated in a disclosure with an actor who played the patient’s family member.

Photo of a social ecological model drawn by students.One group’s completed Social Ecological Model, which was used as a guide for determining root causes for child’s presentation to the ED with severe dental caries – February 2019.

Growing New Ideas

Along with sustaining existing programming, this year marked significant growth in IPE programming. In its second year, the Interprofessional Active Learning Series (IPALS), doubled the number of offerings from the previous year (from three to six two-hour sessions).  The model for this program has opened the tent flaps of IPE curriculum development at UW.  In Spring 2018 CHSIE put out a call for proposals for iPALS topics, for which we received 12 submissions, all authored by groups of interprofessional faculty, students and/or staff. We coordinated six two-hour active learning sessions on the following topics: treating pain in patients with opioid use disorder; the interprofessional care of veterans; a “one health” approach to caring for people experiencing homelessness and their pets; healthcare for older adults across the cognitive continuum; emergency preparedness; and patient-provider communication skills for patients with communication disorders. Over 400 students participated in at least one iPALS session over the academic year.

In addition, this year was a pilot year for the Interprofessional Ethics Labs. These events were held quarterly, and were popular with students across the health sciences.  With financial support from the Bodemer Lecture Fund and the Department of Bioethics and Humanities,  we were able to offer dinner alongside the engaging ethics content. Over 165 students attended at least one of these sessions, which were case-based sessions that offered content and ethical decision-making tools related to brain death diagnoses; engaging patients when they disagree with providers; and developmental/legal/ethical considerations surrounding adolescent decision-making.

Repeatedly, students gave us feedback about how much they appreciate the opportunity to learn skills and relevant topics…together!

Photo of interprofessional teams of students in discussion during an Interprofessional Ethics Lab.Students discussing a challenging case at an Interprofessional Ethics Lab—September 2018.

Building Partnerships

 Along with growing opportunities for students to learn together in the classroom, CHSIE has focused efforts on growing community engagement opportunities for IPE. We developed a partnership with the Seattle King County Clinic, and piloted the Listening Project which provided students the opportunity to pair with someone from outside of their profession and to learn by listening to patients accessing care at the clinic.  The project spurred student-led initiatives that were supported by CHSIE, including writing workshops for health science students to explore the concept of empathic listening in clinical care. The student-led Capillaries Journal for Narrative Medicine published a special edition journal dedicated to these concepts in Spring 2019.

Relevant to the theme of listening and storytelling in healthcare, this year’s health sciences common book was Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, a captivating graphic novel by local author and artist Ellen Forney. CHSIE worked with the Health Sciences Service Learning and Advocacy Committee to plan and deliver programming related to the topics of this book: mental health, access to care, graphic/narrative medicine. Author, Ellen Forney, was impressively engaged in the common book programming throughout the year, giving a public lecture in November 2018, speaking in several classrooms across the health sciences, meeting with faculty about ways to incorporate the book into classroom learning, and facilitating a comics workshop for health science students in April 2019. In addition, we worked with a local organization, What’s Next Washington, to present a panel discussion on stigmatized identities. Students from across the health sciences attended the panel discussion, where speakers shared their stories and experiences with healthcare providers during times of crisis and recovery.

Photo of a panel of speakers at the 2019 What's Next Washington.More than 100 students gathered to listen to a panel of speakers from What’s Next Washington, an organization aimed at empowering people who have experienced incarceration—April 2019.

It’s been an exciting year for IPE at UW!  Thanks to all who have engaged and encouraged growth and innovation throughout the academic year.  In particular we send many thanks to the faculty representatives on the IPE Steering Committee; faculty who developed and facilitated content for the iPALS and Ethics Lab sessions; non-CHSIE staff who have helped support IPE events; volunteer faculty facilitators; Seattle King County Clinic leadership; Health Sciences Board of Deans and Board of Associate Deans; Health Sciences Service Learning and Advocacy Committee; and creative and dedicated student leaders from organizations such as University District Street Medicine, Health Equity Circle, Community Health Advancement Program, and Capillaries Narrative Medicine Journal.  We are looking forward to continued growth, partnerships and innovation as we head into the 2019-20 academic year!

Questions about IPE programming at UW?  Contact Tracy Brazg,