Beyond Collaboration: Strategic Partnerships for Interprofessional Education and Community Engagement
As healthcare moves towards team-based care, accrediting bodies of health professional schools have facilitated interprofessional education and collaboration. Although there has been progress in curricular development, schools still face challenges, especially those without academic health centers. In this program, we explore how schools from different universities can build strategic partnerships for interprofessional education and practice. This involves creative ways to bring together students of various professions for an enriched team-based learning environment and community engagement. Topics include successes, challenges, and best practices facing public-private university collaborations.
Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private Christian university in West Palm Beach, Florida. The closest medical school is at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), a public university in Boca Raton, Florida. Currently, a formal strategic partnership between the Gregory School of Pharmacy (GSOP) and FAU’s Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work exists to provide a quality IPE experience. Our collaboration began with an invitation to attend a pilot IPE session with volunteer pharmacy students. Positive feedback highlighted benefits from interacting with pharmacy students, which is now part of the first year pharmacy, first year medical, nursing, and graduate social work curriculum.
This program’s success opened doors to other interprofessional (IP) opportunities, such as the FAU’s Senior Aging Geriatric Education (SAGE) visits and faculty collaboration initiatives. This past year was our first joint university-community program with GSOP, FAU, and three community independent living facilities for seniors. This unique community program affords IP student teams to practice the competencies of IPE with seniors in South Florida. Not only have the IP teams benefited in their collaborative professional development, but seniors too have had positive experiences and serve as educators for their IP teams. As more opportunities are made available, and community needs continue to expand, two institutions come together to help improve overall health.