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WHSC Office of IPECP launches new programs and celebrates interprofessional education at Emory
photo of Rebecca Hong, Camille Murray and Caroline Wells at table

Rebecca Hong, Camille Murray and Caroline Wells discussed their experiences in three different Emory interprofessional programs during the IPECP Open House student panel.

The Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s Office of Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (IPECP) recently held an open house to highlight exemplary Emory interprofessional (IPE) educational programs and introduce two new programs that will begin during the 2023–24 academic year.

The Office of IPECP supports and develops innovative interprofessional educational and research opportunities for faculty, students, and trainees in Emory’s three health professional schools: the Emory University School of Medicine, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and the Rollins School of Public Health.

Ravi Thadhani, Emory University executive vice president for health affairs, provided opening remarks at the event and was followed by an IPE student panel moderated by professors Jodie Guest and Beth Ann Swan, co-directors of the Office of IPECP.

“While we officially launched our office in March 2022, it was great to host members of the WHSC community at our open house in April to celebrate our first year in operation,” Swan says. “We were pleased to have Dr. Thadhani join us along with our talented WHSC student panelists who participated in three of Emory’s IPE experiential learning programs.”

Students discuss experiential learning

Student panelists and the interprofessional programs they discussed included: Rebecca Hong, a School of Medicine student who participated in the Emory Global Health Case Competition; Camille Murray, a Rollins School of Public Health student who participated in the Atlanta Interprofessional Student Hotspotting program; and Caroline Wells, a physician assistant student in the School of Medicine who participated in the Emory Farmworker Project.

The students described the work they engaged in via these IPE programs and how it has helped teach them how to work better in IPE teams and make valuable contacts with students and faculty across disciplines.

“Through my involvement in student hotspotting, I learned the four IPEC core competencies. Understanding these competencies has helped me while working in a team that works with patients in a complex social system. Knowing that there are other health professionals who have different expertise than you who you can turn to when you’re trying to solve big problems is really helpful,” Murray says. 

Hong thought working with students from other disciplines to solve problems and address health issues was very helpful. “Participating on both a competition team and as a case writing chair for the Emory Global Health Case Competition helped me network with students outside of medicine who also care about global health issues,” she says.

Wells appreciated being able to engage in clinical practice in an IPE team through the Emory Farmworker Project. “Participating in the Emory Farmworker Project was a great experience and very much in line with my career goals,” she says. “While this is a great program for both the participating students and the recipients of the care we provide, I hope that there will be more IPE opportunities that are integrated into students’ schedules in the future.”

According to Guest, “these students represent the best of Emory and the WHSC, and it was exciting to be able to highlight their work in some of Emory’s great IPE programs.”

New interprofessional programs coming this fall 

After the student panel, Guest and Swan introduced two new interprofessional programs that the Office of IPECP is launching. The first program is an Interprofessional Certificate of Distinction that honors WHSC students and trainees who have demonstrated a strong commitment to interprofessional education.

All WHSC learners who participate in Office of IPECP-approved interprofessional experiential learning opportunities at Emory, including those discussed during the student panel, are eligible to receive certificates. The office will award its first IPE Certificates of Distinction to December 2023 WHSC graduates.

The second program, IPE-ACTS (Interprofessional Education – Achieving Collaborative Team Solutions), will be a required program for all first-year students in the WHSC health professional schools. Building on the Interprofessional Team Training Program, IPE-ACTS is an interactive team-based educational program that will teach WHSC students the four core IPEC competencies and challenge interprofessional student teams to solve critical Atlanta-based health challenges.

The program will be delivered through online modules and via a competition that will incorporate both case competition and hackathon elements. First-year WHSC students will sign up for a specific health challenge and an interprofessional team during fall semester 2023, and the competition will take place in spring 2024. 

“We are so excited to introduce these two new IPE programs to the Emory community,” Guest says. “We look forward to honoring WHSC students and trainees who go above and beyond their IPE requirements with our new certificate program and providing first-year WHSC students with an exciting and applied new way to fulfil their IPE requirement while helping to solve local health challenges through the IPE-ACTS program.”

For more information about the Office of IPECP and its programs, please visit its website.

Office of IPECP staff and co-directors at the open house (left to right): Rebecca Baggett, director of projects; Jodie Guest, co-director and professor in the Rollin School of Public Health, and Beth Ann Swan, co-director and professor in the School of Nursing.

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