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Improving public health through student-led interprofessional extracurricular education and collaboration: a conceptual framework

Authors VanderWielen L, Vanderbilt A, Dumke E, Do E, Isringhausen K, Wright M, Enurah A, Mayer S, Bradner M

Received 25 July 2013

Accepted for publication 3 September 2013

Published 10 February 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 105—110


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Lynn M VanderWielen,1 Allison A Vanderbilt,2 Erika K Dumke,3 Elizabeth K Do,4 Kim T Isringhausen,5 Marcie S Wright,2 Alexander S Enurah,6 Sallie D Mayer,7 Melissa Bradner8

1School of Allied Health Professions, Department of Health Administration, 2Center of Health Disparities, School of Medicine, 3Division for Health Sciences Diversity, 4Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, 5Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach, School of Dentistry, 6School of Medicine, 7Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, School of Pharmacy, 8Family Medicine and Population Health, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA

Abstract: In the US, health care professionals are trained predominantly in uniprofessional settings independent of interprofessional education and collaboration. Yet, these professionals are tasked to work collaboratively as part of an interprofessional team in the practice environment to provide comprehensive care to complex patient populations. Although many advantages of interprofessional education have been cited in the literature, interprofessional education and collaboration present unique barriers that have challenged educators and practitioners for years. In spite of these impediments, one student-led organization has successfully implemented interprofessional education and cross-disciplinary collaboration. The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework for successful implementation of interprofessional education and collaboration for other student organizations, as well as for faculty and administrators. Each member of the interprofessional team brings discipline-specific expertise, allowing for a diverse team to attend to the multidimensional health needs of individual patients. The interprofessional team must organize around a common goal and work collaboratively to optimize patient outcomes. Successful interdisciplinary endeavors must address issues related to role clarity and skills regarding teamwork, communication, and conflict resolution. This conceptual framework can serve as a guide for student and health care organizations, in addition to academic institutions to produce health care professionals equipped with interdisciplinary teamwork skills to meet the changing health care demands of the 21st century.

Keywords: interprofessional education, conceptual framework, student organization, health care teams

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