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The Status of Interprofessional Education and Interprofessional Prevention Education in Academic Health Centers: A National Baseline Study

Greer, Annette G. PhD, RN; Clay, Maria PhD; Blue, Amy PhD; Evans, Clyde H. PhD; Garr, David MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000232
Research Reports

Purpose Given the emphasis on prevention in U.S. health care reform efforts, the importance of interprofessional education (IPE) that prepares health professions students to be part of effective health care teams is greater than ever. This study examined the prevalence and nature of IPE and interprofessional (IP) prevention education in U.S. academic health centers.

Method The authors extracted a 10-item survey from the longer published IPE Assessment and Planning Instrument. In September 2010, they sent the survey to 346 health professions leaders in health sciences schools and colleges at 100 academic health centers. These institutions were identified via the online membership list of the Association of Academic Health Centers. The authors conducted descriptive statistical analysis and cross-tabulations.

Results Surveys were completed by 127 contacts at 68 universities in 31 states and the District of Columbia. IPE was more prevalent than IP prevention education in all categories of measurement. Respondents affirmed existence of IPE in courses (85.0%) and in clinical rotations/internships (80.3%). The majority reported personnel with responsibility for IPE (68.5%) or prevention education (59.8%) at their institutional unit, and 59.8% reported an IPE office or center.

Conclusions This study provides evidence that IPE and IP prevention education exist in academic health centers, but additional attention should be paid to the development of IP prevention education. Sample syllabi, job descriptions, and policies may be available to support adoption of IPE and IP prevention education. Further effort is needed to increase the integration of IP and prevention education into practice.

Dr. Greer is assistant professor, Department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.

Dr. Clay is professor and chair, Department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.

Dr. Blue is associate dean for educational affairs and associate vice president for interprofessional education, University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, Gainesville, Florida. At the time of writing, she was professor of family medicine, assistant provost for education, and director, Creating Collaborative Care (C3), Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.

Dr. Evans is senior consultant, Academy for Academic Leadership, Needham, Massachusetts.

Dr. Garr is executive director, South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium, associate dean for community medicine, and professor of family medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.

Please see the end of this article for information about the authors.

Funding/Support: The authors acknowledge funding provided by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation in support of this research.

Other disclosures: Prior funding for the APTR Institute for Interprofessional Prevention Education and related projects was made possible in part through cooperative agreements between APTR and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (no. 5U50CD300860) and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (no. APTHP020003), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and contributed to development of this study.

Ethical approval: The research was reviewed and approved by East Carolina University internal review board as exempt.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation or APTR.

Previous presentations: The results of the study have presented to the following: CAB III (November 19–22, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona), HRSA (April 24, 2012, in Washington, DC), Academies of Health (June 24–26, 2012, Orlando, Florida), and Federal Interagency Workgroup (August 15, 2012, Washington, DC).

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Greer, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Brody 2N12, 600 Moye Blvd., Greenville, NC 27834; telephone: (252) 744-0316; e-mail:

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges