However, a revived emphasis began when the college overhauled its curriculum three years ago. Additionally, a higher standard of interprofessional education was built into the college’s accreditation requirement last year, according to Joseph Fantone, MD, senior associate dean for educational affairs.
“We want graduates to be able to function in a collaborative manner with other health care professionals as members of an interdisciplinary team providing care,” Fantone said. “Inter-professional education is one of the tools to help us achieve that goal.”
Interprofessionalism seeks to eliminate the more traditional, physician-led medical team model, and promote a team-based model, which results in better communication among health care professionals and better, safer care for patients.
“All of this is to improve patient care and reduce errors,” Blue said. “Unfortunately, I think more institutions than we want to recognize can come up with the sentinel or non-sentinel events where tragedy occurred because the team broke down.
“People recognize that interprofessional collaboration should improve patient care. And studies are beginning to show that it does,” she added.
After spending a half-day debating her point of view, PHHP student Katelyn Turner realized her perspective sometimes conflicts with her peers’.
“The view I have of a health perspective isn’t always the best view or the right view, even though sometimes I think that it is because that’s the field I’m interested in, ” Turner said. “Other providers have very important input in patient care, and our goal, all together, is the wellness of the patient. We really have to work together
According to Blue, the College of Medicine had one of the first interprofessional education programs in the country. In addition, Black said the college has “broken every mold” in pursuing a higher standard of collaborative education.
The earlier students from different professions work together, the sooner they realize their “not-helpful stereotypes” are due to differences in medical interests, which can lead to communication breakdowns, Blue said.
“Having a generation of students know what other health practitioners do, know how to communicate with each other and know how to work together, is going to be essential,” said Venita Sposetti, DMD, an associate professor and the associate dean for education at the UF College of Dentistry.
Last year, Sposetti and her colleagues developed a collaborative microbiology event that included first-year medical and dentistry students applying fluoride varnishes and performing intraoral exams on each other to better understand early childhood caries, or cavities.
“The traditional lines in professions and between professions of ‘who does what’ and ‘what’s the role’ are blurring,” she said. “They’re probably not going to crystallize more; they’re going to get blurrier.”