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CLARION: A Novel Interprofessional Approach to Health Care Education

Johnson, Alan W.; Potthoff, Sandra J. PhD; Carranza, Leslie MHS; Swenson, Heather M. MHA, MBA; Platt, Christine R. RN, BSN; Rathbun, Jon R. MHA, MBA

Team Approach to Education

The authors describe the development and impact of CLARION, a student-run organization at the University of Minnesota founded in 2001 and dedicated to furthering interprofessional education for health professions students. CLARION's student founders recognized that three recent reports from the Institute of Medicine will fuel significant changes in health professions education. Moreover, they deduced that targeted, interprofessional education in the preclinical years could provide fundamental skills and understanding needed to make today's patient care safer and more effective. By engaging health care professionals and faculty, CLARION creates and conducts extracurricular, interprofessional experiences for students that are reflective of the six IOM aims for health care.

Student members are from four separate schools of the university's academic health center: medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. The organization's capstone event, the Interprofessional Case Competition, challenges interprofessional teams of students to compete in conducting and presenting a root cause analysis of a fictitious sentinel event. The interprofessional organizational structure of the CLARION board models the kind of interprofessional equality needed to effectively solve problems in the health care system. The interaction among students from different health professions has led them to many new understandings about health care and the realization that many fundamental biases about other professions are firmly rooted in students before they enter the workplace. CLARION has enabled continued professional development of students, faculty, and practitioners, leading individual students to enhanced understanding of the health care system. It is a grassroots catalyst that has prompted faculty to reexamine traditional health professions curricula and look for ways to integrate more interprofessional opportunities into it.

Mr. Johnson is a fourth-year student, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Potthoff is associate professor, Division of Health Services Research and Policy, and director of the Program in Healthcare Administration, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ms. Carranza is a fourth-year student, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ms. Swenson is access management consultant, University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ms. Platt is a nurse at HealthPartners Regions Hospital, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Mr. Rathbun is director of finance, Optum Entity, a division of UnitedHealth Group, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Potthoff, Program in Healthcare Administration, School of Public Health, MMC 510, 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455; telephone: (612) 624-9019, fax: (612) 626-8328; e-mail: 〈potth001@umn.edu〉.

© 2006 Association of American Medical Colleges