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Interprofessional Education in MCW School of Medicine: Gratitude and Hope for the Future

During October and November, MCW students will participate in workshops helping them to hone their skills in the essentials of interprofessional care: communication, values and ethics, professional roles and responsibilities, and teamwork. Students from the School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, Master of Science in Anesthesia program, and Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program will learn along with over 1,000 health professions students from all over the state of Wisconsin. As the program coordinator, I have the pleasure of assisting in the design and implementation of MCW IPE activities, mainly the Core Thread workshops, a series of four interprofessional workshops over four semesters. When I reflect on these interprofessional offerings, I am filled with two emotions: gratitude and hope.

I am grateful for many aspects of the MCW interprofessional education programming: its continued growth, the exceptional leadership of Dr. Erica Chou, and the myriad of faculty who facilitate sessions. In the seven years of its existence, the IPE program for the School of Medicine has grown from singular, sporadic events to a large, cohesive curriculum partnering with 10 local institutions. This is possible due to the strong support of leaders such as Drs. Erica Chou, Courtney Barry, Dr. Jose Franco, Dr. Marty Muntz, and the Kern Institute. I am especially grateful for the incredible leadership of Dr. Erica Chou for serving as the Director of Interprofessional Education for the School of Medicine for four years. Her creativity and vision shaped the School of Medicine’s IPE curriculum and placed it on a trajectory for growth. I am continually grateful for the time and expertise shared by the faculty and staff that facilitate our sessions. Just as Cimino et al. stated in the featured Article of the Month, facilitation can be intimidating and challenging. Yet, each semester over 110 faculty and staff members from MCW, Froedtert, and Children’s donate their time to facilitate interprofessional small groups during Core Thread workshops. Facilitation requires wearing many hats: mentor, reflective practitioner, and encouraging supporter among others. Each semester our volunteers thoughtfully and courageously guide health professions students, and for that I am extremely grateful.

As I look to the future of interprofessional education in the School of Medicine, and at MCW at large, I am filled with hope. As the details of the MCWFusion curriculum become clearer, interprofessional education will become integrated throughout the curriculum to provide students a multidimensional interprofessional experience. Dr. Courtney Barry serves as the new Director for Interprofessional Education for the School of Medicine, and her tenacity and insight will form the next phase of IPE at MCW. Increased inter-college IPE meetings and events give me hope for more institution-wide IPE events so our students can grow as learners and clinicians.

Although interprofessional education can be challenging, the future for IPE at MCW is bright. With strong institutional support and dedicated faculty and staff facilitators, we will continue to provide our students with the robust, meaningful interprofessional education they need for their futures.

If you’re interested in learning more about facilitation opportunities, please contact Dr. Courtney Barry (cobarry@mcw.edu) or Kelly Horton (khorton@mcw.edu).