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Collaborating Across Borders VI: A Light in the Dark

In October this year, I had the opportunity to be in Banff, Alberta, Canada at the CABVI conference. With the disasters in Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas, as well as the United States’ battle for better healthcare fresh in mind, it was easy to be discouraged and distraught. But against a backdrop of some of the greatest scenery North America has to offer, a group of individuals came together to paint a much brighter picture of the world.


Banff, Alberta Canada

Collaborating Across Borders is the result of a successful partnership between the Canadian and American Interprofessional Health Collaboratives. They seek to drive essential discussions surrounding interprofessional health care education, practice, leadership, and policy in North America.

Throughout the three-day conference hundreds of academics, clinicians, students, patients, researchers, and other interested parties spoke at length about the wonderful work they were doing to improve patient outcomes and patient care, drive down healthcare costs, and improve provider satisfaction. It was a group of people with a clear message: Things are better than ever, and we’re continuing to improve.


Dr. Teri Kennedy and I were thrilled to be there representing the ASU Center for Advancing Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (CAIPER), and to be speaking about the wonderful work going on right here in Arizona.

I teamed up with Dr. Barbara Maxwell at A.T. Still University to present on our experiences with performing inventories of interprofessional activities college- and university-wide. With the growing number of initiatives, these types of environmental scans have become important tools for interprofessional centers and colleges across the country. It was wonderful to be able to share our stories with colleagues from across North America.

You can view the abstract and presentation slides for How to Use an IPE Program Inventory to Create an Institutional Assessment Strategy, and Promote Networking, Collaboration and Innovation in the CAIPER Resource Hub.

Dr. Kennedy presented, Distance Learning that Works for All Professions: A Model of Student and Faculty Engagement. She detailed the CAIPER team’s experience with the development, orientation, and feedback from an interprofessional Student Advisory Committee for development of new distance learning materials.

Attendees were eager to learn how our team creatively involves students in our curriculum design process in order to improve the relevance and accuracy of materials. We were proud to share this collaboration and our CAIPER eLearning modules.

The full abstract and presentation slides for Distance Learning that Works for All Professions: A Model of Student and Faculty Engagement are available in the CAIPER Resource Hub.

"Interprofessional by Design" 

The Student Health Outreach for Wellness (SHOW) Director, Dr. Liz Harrell, and Clinical Operations Manager, Dr. Oaklee Rogers, are part of the phenomenal team that has been working to expand the SHOW Clinic model. They presented, Interprofessional by Design: Meeting at the Crossroads to Build an Innovative Interprofessional and Substance Use Disorder Training Practice Environment.

The program is a collaboration between ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation Doctor of Nursing Practice, ASU Social Work, Northern Arizona University Occupational and Physical Therapy, and The Crossroads residential substance abuse treatment center.

The goal of this project is to increase access to care for vulnerable populations, and to develop an interprofessional leadership program for the students working at the clinic. You can read more about this project in the blog article, CAIPER Participates in NCIPE Accelerating Grant Kickoff.

IPE innovations at Minnesota and Virgina

We also learned about some fascinating and important work going on throughout North America. At the University of Minnesota, they’re innovating in their curriculum design – incorporating an “escape room” activity into interprofessional courses, which has improved teamwork and communication among students and received rave reviews.

At the University of Virginia, a team has been piloting mini design-thinking workshops with large interprofessional groups of students. There, the students have been working collaboratively to re-design clinic waiting rooms while simultaneously improving their communication and understanding of each other’s roles and strengths.

Keynotes to strike a powerful chord

Perhaps though, the most inspiring and powerful moments came from the keynote speakers. One morning, a Canadian researcher and a mother caring for her son with a chronic, rare illness spoke at length of the difficulties (yet the necessity) of including patients and family care providers in interprofessional research teams and as full members of care teams.

It was powerful to hear this mother speak to the challenges of raising her son, and the challenges she experienced having her voice heard as a respected member of a care team.

The keynote that kicked off the conference, which set the tone for the three days, gave each and every attendee something to think deeply about. The talk, Are we training for collective incompetence? Three common educational assumptions & their impacts on healthcare teamwork, was given by Dr. Lorelei Lingard from the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Lorelei Lingard CAB VI

She spoke at length about key assumptions we may be making in the education of our providers, and the care we’re providing to patients. It would have been easy for a talk like this to provide a jaded and bleak outlook. However, Dr. Lingard posed all of her cautions with the inspiring tone of rising to a challenge. Leaving the session, I felt invigorated – like we really can work together to make an impactful difference.

And so here I am back in Phoenix at ASU. We have a lot of work to do together, but right now I’m more certain than ever that we’re accomplishing great things, and we’re only getting better.


About the Author

Michael MoramarcoMichael Moramarco is the Project Manager for CAIPER. He has his hands in as many interprofessional cookie jars as possible. When he isn’t working with the SHOW/Crossroads initiatives and developing student leadership programs, he’s facilitating workshops for the Arizona Nexus or helping his team reach their vision. He is thrilled to be a part of such a great team with CAIPER, and is always excited for the next big adventure there.

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