The OUHSC College Deans, Senior Officers, and Provosts have supported the development and implementation of interdisciplinary and interprofessional programs for over 30 years.
Dr. Peggy Wisdom, with the Wisdom Family Foundation, provided support to evaluate the need and the feasibility of OUHSC developing a formal interprofessional education program for health professions students. A core group of faculty volunteered to engage in the creation of current interdisciplinary initiatives.
The initial pilot clinically-focused program was called EPIC (Empowering Patients Through Interprofessional Collaboration) which allowed 80 students from the 6 OUHSC Colleges and the OU Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work to deliver supervised student-provided patient care at the Good Shepherd Community Clinic in Oklahoma City. EPIC programming continues to be available under the term IPE Clinical Experience as part of our two-year curriculum plan to provide experiential immersion to advanced learners.
In order to expand the interprofessional education opportunity to more students, All Professions Day was developed. APD programming is now available to all first-year learners on campus and is intended as the first didactic exposure to the IPEC Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice.
The initiative was offered a home in the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs (OIDP), within the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs & Faculty Development. This move demonstrated the commitment of OUHSC administration and leadership to support interprofessional programming.
Following a retreat hosted by the Vice Provost, the loosely formed core faculty reorganized and named the volunteer group the Interprofessional Educators & Practitioners Association (IEPA). IEPA established three working committees: Curriculum, Faculty Development, and Research.
Later in the year, a Regents approved mandatory university fee was instituted to provide budgetary support for the continued development, implementation and evaluation of interdisciplinary learning opportunities for HSC students.
IEPA adopted a new, two-year curriculum plan including core programming committed to the development and expansion of a comprehensive, cohesive, and competency-driven menu of interdisciplinary learning experiences for every student at every level.
The IEPA also added a Student-Faculty Committee charged with developing student-led initiatives.
As part of the OUHSC Academic Strategic Plan, there is a campus-wide initiative to enhance related faculty capacity building for interdisciplinary/interprofessional education. The work of OIDP and IEPA seek to operationalize the systemic goals supporting our shift from cylinders of excellence to comprehensive and meaningful interdisciplinary education.
- Learning from past successes, IEPA deployed a two-year curricular model supported by competency-based objectives tested in piloted programming. The result is a flexible curricular “menu” allowing opportunities for degree programs to meet their accreditation needs and student interests – including additional opportunities for interprofessional clinical experiences.
- Wisdom Family Foundation Interprofessional Education Research Seed Grants are used to support an annual request for proposals describing faculty designed pilot learning programs. These pilot projects enable continued support for faculty innovation while adding new curriculum relevant to the IPE and team science competencies/principles.
- The Unity Clinic pilot was implemented as an updated version of
the IPE Clinical Experience. The term “Unity Clinic” was selected by students
to refer to team-based collaboration that occurs in the clinical experience.
The COVID pandemic posed
academic challenges to maintain the quality delivery of educational programming
the team had worked for the past few years to build. Through use of technology,
our teams were able to not only maintain the majority of the menu options, but
expand enrollment to additional students and the more activity engage students
at the Tulsa, Norman, and Lawton campuses. Our teams effectively learned to use
online classroom spaces, virtual simulations, and telehealth equipment.
Noteworthy was our teams’ readiness to assist with the pandemic response. Early in 2020, our teams participated in online COVID training. This baseline didactic content prepared learners to work on the front lines with the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Later, as the vaccines were released, our teams were engaged on the frontlines with OU Health to assist with community vaccination pods. Our teams assisted the campus community in the deliverance of over 50,000 vaccine doses, to over 11% of Oklahoma county’s residents. Their work was recognized with the 2021 George E. Thibault, MD NEXUS Award.
Read the 2020-21 Annual Report.
Community engagement has been a foundational concern for OIDP and IEPA. We have maintained a strong partnership with Good Shepherd Clinic since 2012. This partnership allows our IPE learners to gain hands-on, team-based experience while improving access to care, addressing social determinants of health, and addressing health disparities in Oklahoma County.
Our focus on the community was also highlighted in our community-engaged simulations. Our SAME/FAME: Self-Advocates-as-Medical-Educators/Family-Advocates-as-Medical-Educators, and our 2S-LGBTQ+ simulation engage community members with real-life experience as the standardized patient and team participant. This unique experience lets our student teams practice team communication skills with other professionals while understanding the unique circumstances of patients from these communities.
Unity Clinic greatly increased their capacity in 2021-2022. Mostly due to their work in COVID vaccine outreach, Unity has collaborated with dozens of community groups throughout the Oklahoma City metro. This includes faith-based organizations, food resource centers, community development agencies, and public schools. These partnerships provide additional rotation slots for our increasing student enrollment while expanding exposure for learners to diverse communities in mutually beneficial programming.
In total, OIDP delivered programming to well over 2,000 learners in the 2021-2022 academic year.
2022 and Beyond
In the year ahead, we look forward to launching additional collaborations such as with the Bridges to Access Symposium and the Social Determinants of Health/Health Literacy Simulation. We will be establishing new community partnerships in Unity Clinic Mobile Outreach with the intent of visiting each quadrant of the state.
We look forward to continued growth with all of our campus stakeholders and community partners in preparing the team-ready healthcare workforce of tomorrow.