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Title: Student and community insights on interprofessional health education
Authors: Adams-Carpino, Gayle
Keywords: Interprofessional education;collaboration;mixed-methods;ICCAS;IPE competencies;community-based curriculum;advocacy;student leadership
Issue Date: 26-Jan-2022
Abstract: In Northern Ontario, interprofessional education (IPE) is offered at the undergraduate level to improve collaborative healthcare delivery and access to services for vulnerable people. However, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) expressed concern about the lack of convincing evidence of the beneficial effects of IPE interventions leading to enhanced patient care. The IOM also noted an absence of comprehensive explanations regarding how students experience collaborative learning. My study aimed to understand whether the teaching of six interprofessional competencies to undergraduate students attending a northern academic institution enhances 1) perceived interprofessional collaboration and 2) students' awareness and sensitivity regarding the needs of vulnerable people. This mixed-methods study, integrating certain principles of action research, was conducted within the context of an IPE program involving 67 participants from two cohorts, 2019 and 2020. The sequential explanatory mixed-methods design included a retrospective prepost self-assessment survey and interviews with students and community members. The results showed that the IPE program supported an understanding of IPE within both classroom and community settings. Following participation in the IPE program, statistically significant differences in pre-post scores were identified for each of six interprofessional competency domains. Three forms of qualitative data supported the analysis; these included interviews with students, interviews with two community partners and students’ anonymous written reflections. Qualitative analysis revealed that classroom and community experiences enhanced the understanding of competencies and supported collaboration as well as connection amongst students from diverse disciplines. The analysis also revealed an enhanced awareness of community members' lived realities. The results demonstrated that students and the community benefitted from the educational IPE program. The participants showed increased collaboration and motivation to work with vulnerable populations. Participation in the IPE program also increased awareness, sensitivity, and advocacy for the diverse needs of community members. Student-led health promotion organizations emerged as a sustainable and flexible experience that enabled students to integrate various IPE experiences, advance collaboration and enhance their ability to work with underserved populations. Key limitations of the study stem from the impacts of COVID-19 which limited access to community partners. In addition, relatively small sample sizes for the quantitative surveys (n=44) limit the generalizability of these findings. Moreover, the study design did not allow for an examination of gender, age or cultural differences. Future studies could address these issues as well as examine the long-term effects of IPE education on post-graduation experiences.
Appears in Collections:Human Studies and Interdisiplinarity - Doctoral Theses

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