INTERPROFESSIONAL EDUCATION (IPE)
Interprofessional education (IPE) is the growing practice of training and educating students
from different health care professions together in order to enhance teamwork skills and
encourage the collaborative practice of medicine. The World Health Organization describes
interprofessional education as “when students from two or more professions learn about,
from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”1
Interprofessional experiences often involve small groups or “teams” in which students from
different specialty areas (MD, DO, NP, PA, Pharmacy, etc.) work together to provide
patients with high quality medical care to a patient. The primary goals of interprofessional
education are to cultivate strong teamwork skills, familiarize health care professionals with
the competencies specific to other health professions, and develop effective communication
skills among health care professionals. Ultimately, IPE focuses on health professionals
working together to form a patient-centered medical team.
Common classroom courses found in IPE curriculum include interdisciplinary courses, Comment [n1]: Can you give me an example of
professional communication, patient safety, professional medical conduct, community this?
health, public health, and the roles/duties of different health professionals. It is important to
note that instruction in the clinical setting is absent from the interprofessional curriculum. Comment [n2]: Can you please confirm this
statement? I thought that is what I took away from
In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a survey of global
interprofessional education practices of 396 respondents representing 42 countries.
Nurse/midwifes (16%), Physicians (10.2%), and Physiotherapists (10.1%) received the most
amount of interprofessional education. Respondents indicated that IPE benefits included
becoming familiar with the work of other practitioners, improved workplace practices and
productivity, improved patient outcomes, raised staff morale, improved patient safety, and
better access to health-care.2
In May 2011, an expert panel sponsored by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative
(IPEC) suggested four core competencies for interprofessional education: (1) Values/Ethics
for interprofessional practice, (2) Roles/Responsibilities, (3) Interprofessional
Communication, (4) Teams and Teamwork.3 IPEC is comprised of the American
Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, American Association of Colleges of
Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Dental Education
Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Association of Schools of
The AOA does not currently have policy on the issue of interprofessional education. The
Bureau of State Government Affairs (BSGA) researched this issue and to provided
Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice, World Health
Organization Report, 2010. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2010/WHO_HRH_HPN_10.3_eng.pdf
Core Competencies for International Collaborative Practice: Report of an Expert Panel, May, 2011.
Interprofessional Education Collaborative.
information to the affiliates, but has not yet submitted a policy for consideration to the AOA
Board of Trustees or the House of Delegates. However, the AOA does support the
collaborative practice of medicine and the role of physicians in patient-centered medical
RECENT STATE ACTION
In the United States, there are currently 17 institutions across the country implementing or
planning to implement IPE. Two institutions provide IPE for DOs.
AOA STAFF CONTACT
For additional information contact Nicholas A. Schilligo, MS, Director of the Division of
State Government Affairs at (800) 621-1773, ext. 8185 or email@example.com.