Interprofessional Training and Education at Cornell-Hunter
The ITEACH project was a public-private partnership for interprofessional education (IPE) between Hunter College and the Weill Cornell Medical College, funded by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation (Board Grant, 2010-2014). The project aims were to advance the design, development, and adoption of IPE to provide our students with the knowledge and skills in teamwork and communication that are vital for the delivery of high quality patient care, particularly to under-served patient populations in community-based settings.
ITEACH brought together faculty from Weill Cornell Medical College, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and CUNY School of Public Health to design an IPE curriculum for students from each school with the following goals:
- Describe the professional competencies of other members of a health care team;
- Improve team function through a clear understanding of team dynamics;
- Work with members of other professions to assess patient needs; and,
- Participate in a health fair or community-based organization as a team.
Our interprofessional education curriculum engaged students from nursing, public health, social work and medicine in team-based learning experiences designed to build competencies in patient-centered teamwork and communication. The ITEACH program stressed the values of different health care professions and their roles as part of a team to improve the delivery of patient care.
The ITEACH curriculum incorporates blended learning, simulation, service learning, and patient stories to promote deeper understanding of barriers to health services for chronically ill, under-served populations. Teaching methods include group lectures, small-group discussions, e-learning modules, team projects, provider interviews, patient visits, simulation, and patient case studies. Using a logic model with relational coordination as our conceptual framework, learning assessment included group OSCEs, scenario recordings, team papers, and student focus groups.
ITEACH Interprofessional Education Outcomes
In the first two years, 94 students from our four schools of nursing, medicine, social work, and public health completed the ITEACH course and service learning activities. Students gained a deeper appreciation for the roles of other disciplines; the need to respect the unique values of patients, their families, and other providers; and the profound effect that team building, mutual trust, and communication has on the safety and quality of care delivery.
In their third year, the ITEACH team disseminated their experiences, helped integrate interprofessional education into the curricula, provided faculty development, and produced a series of open educational resources in IPE. These efforts have helped our students develop a strong foundation in teamwork and collaborative practice early in their programs, readying them for additional interprofessional learning as they advance in their training.