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Interprofessional Education and COVID-19

Interprofessional Education, or IPE, provides health professions students with core skills in communication, teamwork, collaborative practice, and ethics and values related to providing multidisciplinary care. The School of Medicine’s IPE program has implemented a four-part Core Thread series focusing building a foundation in the above skills. The Core Thread includes first and second year medical students, as well as health professions students from Marquette University, Concordia University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Alverno College and Gateway Technical College.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic and Building Vaccine Confidence

Our first cohort of students to participate in the Core Thread completed their fourth and final session this spring. The session focused on the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) competency “Teams and Teamwork” as interprofessional student teams worked together to address COVID-19 vaccination.

In the first portion of the session, students created their own COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Basic guidelines, such as number of staff and available resources, were provided to the teams. They were instructed to determine what roles were needed to run the many aspects of the clinic and what professionals could cover those roles within their scopes of practice. Using a software platform called ALLO, students were provided with potential components which they could organize into their clinic’s workflow. Halfway through the exercise, student teams were given a twist: two high school volunteers were added into the mix of clinic workers and teams had to figure out how to incorporate them into the workflow.

In the second portion of the session, student teams were asked to address vaccine hesitancy by selecting a target population and creating a media campaign or image to build vaccine confidence.

Student-Created Materials

MCW IPE student team created COVID-19 clinicStudent team created COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

MCW IPE student team created vaccine hesitancy information
Student team created vaccine hesitancy media campaign.

Student Evaluations

Students reported an appreciation of others’ perspectives from participating in this exercise. Post-session evaluation comments included:

  • “I think these IPE sessions and workshops continue to help me evolve in a professional and personal manner, and I am very thankful for them!"
  • “I did appreciate the relevance to COVID-19! So many times since the pandemic, people have commented on how exciting it must be to be receiving my education during this time, but I actually don't feel like COVID has been addressed in the classroom that much. So thank you!"
  • “The culturally relevant model was really valuable and something to consider to keep doing based on timely public health issues and needs that come up. MPH/PHD students were a major plus in our group!"

When asked if they believe interacting with interprofessional colleagues adds value to their education, 79.38% of participants responded “definitely yes” or “probably yes”.

Fall IPE Plans

The IPE Program for the School of Medicine will include sessions on the IPEC competencies “Communication” and “Roles and Responsibilities” this fall. Sessions for the fall semester will remain virtual to foster participation across various programs and organizations in our community.

New community partners will join the program this fall, including new MCW degree programs along with students from UWM and Mount Mary programs.

The IPE program is always looking for faculty interested in facilitating sessions for our students. Many dates and opportunities are available for the fall and spring semesters. In addition, the program is currently seeking faculty interested in participating in the School of Medicine Interprofessional Education Interest Group to help develop IPE curriculum. If you are interested in learning more about either of these opportunities, please contact Kelly Horton.