IPE Experts Engage TUSDM Faculty

In an effort to further develop TUSDM’s initiatives in interprofessional education (IPE), two IPE experts from the University of Minnesota were invited to the school to host a workshop series for faculty, staff and school partners.
Dr. Barbara Brandt is a nationally recognized leader in the development of IPE curricula; she is a professor of pharmaceutical care and health systems, and Associate Vice President for Education at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. Dr. Judith Buchanan is a professor in the Division of Prosthodontics at Minnesota and has worked with Dr. Brandt to implement IPE-related curriculum in the Minnesota School of Dentistry.

Drs. Brandt and Buchanan held several sessions about IPE development on June 24. The morning session centered on TUSDM’s external partnerships, and included guests from other Tufts schools, including, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine; the School of Occupational Therapy; and the School of Medicine. Representatives from other schools’ health sciences programs also participated, including the Mass. College of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Northeastern University; Mission Park High School; and Simmons College. The Community Health Center of Cape Cod was also represented.

“There was a tremendous value in getting our faculty and our partners together here,” said Dr. Carole Palmer, Division Head of Nutrition and Oral Health Promotion and interim IPE Director. “It was a chance to come together and think about this aspect of our curriculum with the benefit of Dr. Brandt’s and Dr. Buchanan’s previous experience.”

The other sessions included a lunch lecture entitled “Interprofessional Education 101,” on the basics of IPE, and an afternoon workshop with selected Tufts faculty on IPE’s role specifically at Tufts. Dr. Palmer said it was incredibly important to orient the entire TUSDM team to the new initiatives and brainstorm with other departments and other universities, especially since the school is already implementing or exploring some IPE-related initiatives, such as a program in which dental and nutrition students work on diagnosis and treatment together, and the LOTUS project to form a health clinic at the Castle Square Apartment Complex.

“It broadened our horizon about the types of projects that could lend themselves to this methodology,” she said.

Dr. Mark Nehring, Chair of the Department of Public Health and Community Service, said that Drs. Brandt and Buchanan demonstrated how IPE can be different from other university initiatives.

“You realize that one just has to get started – the resources are available,” he said. “And the way we roll things out can be different from one school to the next. This event allowed everyone to walk away with the sense that this is more of a reality, and that there are means to accomplish it.”