In 2012 Dr. Peggy Wisdom with the Wisdom Family Foundation provided support for the evaluation of the need and feasibility of OUHSC developing a formal interprofessional education program for their health professions students. Dr. Wisdom had been fortunate to have experienced many positive interprofessional collaborations since beginning her career as a neurologist. Having worked with interprofessional teams caring for persons who had experienced life-changing conditions such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and stroke convinced her that not only can a team of professionals have a positive impact on the ultimate outcome after injury or illness but that patients and their families are likely to be more satisfied with consistent information from team members and one patient-centered care plan rather than the traditional plans submitted by multiple health care professionals.
However, it was her own personal experience with a life-changing illness that instilled the notion to start working toward development of a formal interprofessional education program for all the students at OUHSC. After her illness she began to look at the components of various interprofessional teams she was involved with and recognized that students from educational programs across campus were not a part of any teams. She believed that if students representing the various professions could participate in supervised clinical collaborations they would be better prepared to transition to clinical practice as “Team-Ready” health care professionals. The benefit of being “Team-Ready” as a student results in improved efficiency and effectiveness of a team as students are trained in interprofessional competencies before they become practitioners.
Clearly OUHSC had highly qualified faculty resources for interprofessional education on campus as she had benefited from interprofessional collaboration early in her career while at O’Donoghue Rehabilitation Institute. The Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Allied Health, Public Health, Pharmacy and Nursing were graduating well educated students. We also had a successful Faculty Development Program for all OUHSC faculty which promoted interprofessional collaboration. However we were all working in silos and we needed an opportunity to expand our resources to include interprofessional education. Once Dr. Wisdom called upon several of her colleagues to discuss the feasibility of interprofessional collaboration, it did not take long for a core group of faculty to start reviewing the literature, attending interprofessional conferences and scheduling regular meetings to develop the concept of interprofessional education for our campus. This core group of faculty became the OUHSC Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC). The initial pilot program that was developed 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 participate in four active learning sessions that helped them to build team relationships and also introduced them to the competencies adopted by the Interprofessional Educational Collaborative. This was followed by monthly supervised patient care at the Good Shepherd Community Clinic. In order to expand the interprofessional educational opportunity to more students, the concept of All Professions Day (APD) was rolled out in 2015. The team building concept and interprofessional competencies were again the focus of APD.