Background and Purpose.
Although there has been extensive discussion on the need for interprofessional education (IPE), available literature that addresses organizational models for its structure and implementation is limited. The purpose of this article is to describe the implementation of IPE at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Medicine, through the lens of organizational structure and change.
Model Description and Evaluation.
The University of South Florida College of Medicine has employed IPE for students in the medicine and physical therapy programs since the fall of 2005. This article describes the IPE program at USF, the 2 underlying organizational models—centralized and decentralized—of IPE, and the advantages and disadvantages of each model. The authors make the case that interprofessional organizational structures and decision-making processes are necessary for the long-term sustainability of IPE. Like learning experiences, organizational support is a part of the interprofessional continuum and can be classified as uniprofessional, multiprofessional, or truly interprofessional.
Preliminary results indicate that centralized and decentralized models have both benefits and drawbacks. Organizational decision-making processes in our program have become more interactive and interprofessional, resulting in fewer logistical barriers, a greater number of champions, and more IPE opportunities for students. Results from the disability experiences suggest that the learning experiences have been successful in stimulating interaction between students from different professions around the shared issue of disability, but not as effective in stimulating discussion around professionspecific perspectives on disability, which is vital to future teamwork.
Discussion and Conclusion.
Implementation of a centralized model of IPE requires organizational commitment and culture change, but holds the greatest potential for sustainable long-term change for students, faculty, the implicit curriculum, and educational outcomes.