The delivery of healthInterprofessional group working together care is evolving to become more collaborative, high tech and patient-centered. It needs to in order to meet the needs of an aging baby boom population, provide access to care in rural areas and in underserved populations, and to keep up with a new generation of highly connected and mobile patients.

“Our philosophy is that really high quality health care is delivered as teams. The time to get pharmacists and nurses and physicians talking to each other is really when they are students,” says Gary Pollack, dean of the Washington State University College of Pharmacy.

The WSU pharmacy program is doing just that. The college has completely changed the way it approaches professional education for its Doctor of Pharmacy program, and part of this shift in instructional philosophy is the commitment to integrating interprofessional learning into its curriculum.

“I have always been interested in interprofessional education, so this new program opportunity was perfect,” said Anne Kim, clinical assistant professor for the WSU College of Pharmacy.

Kim is part of a team that is developing an interprofessional faculty development program called Success with Interprofessional Practice and Education, or “SWIPE”.

The SWIPE program will provide regular programming for educators who teach in health sciences programs. The goal is to improve health care delivery through teaching team-based care. Providing resources and tools to instructors through the SWIPE program will allow them to better teach students how to be interprofessional and how to work together as professionals, resulting in healthier communities.

“Our training events are aimed at getting faculty from different institutions to come and work together and see the value of interprofessional education so they can incorporate interprofessional elements into their own courses,” says Kim.

The first SWIPE workshop is tentatively set for this summer, and will run quarterly. Their aim is to make the program accessible to both faculty and community preceptors from different professions.

Teamwork makes the dream work
Kim is just one of the faculty at the WSU College of Pharmacy who is a member of the Yakima Valley Interprofessional Practice and Education Collaborative (YVIPEC) Faculty Development Committee. YVIPEC is a collaborative of higher education institutions in the Yakima area dedicated to promoting high quality health care through interprofessional education, scholarship and practice. Institutions currently participating in YVIPEC include Heritage University, PNWU, Central Washington University, and WSU.

“Right now from WSU, the Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy are both participating. I am looking forward to the WSU College of Medicine joining us soon,” said Kim.

The SWIPE program will be a part of the group’s regular practice and educational events. In the spirit of its inclusive and collaborative culture, SWIPE events will travel to different sites to be more accessible to each of the YVIPEC institutions.

The YVIPEC Faculty Development Committee leads discussions on how the group can increase faculty buy-in to not only teach interprofessionally, but to model it.

“It is important for faculty to model interprofessional collaboration because this is how these professional students are going to practice once they graduate,” said Kim.

This is an example of how the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program is developing practice-ready graduates who will lead tomorrow’s health care solutions, and how the Doctor of Pharmacy program extension in Yakima is leading the college’s drive for innovation and transformation in pharmacy education.

Building for transformation in health care
As part of developing the SWIPE program, Kim attended a “Train-the-Trainer” (T3) faculty development program specifically focused on interprofessional education and faculty development for educators from the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education this past January.

“The T3 workshop was an intense four days of teamwork, project development, and feedback on how to successfully implement our project. It was a really great experience,” said Kim. “Our team had participants from four institutions, representing seven professions.”

Kim plans to roll out the SWIPE program with the introductory event this summer for the deans, chairs and provosts of the YVIPEC institutions. “This is to give them an opportunity to experience our program, understand the benefits, and then encourage the faculty from their own programs to participate,” she said. The quarterly programming for faculty and preceptors will then begin in the fall.

“I have already integrated some of what I learned at T3 into my class and I love it. I am looking forward to seeing the interprofessional faculty interaction at future SWIPE events,” said Kim.

[Lori J. Maricle] 4/28/17