Home / CAIPER Blog / Articles / From the Diamond State to the Desert...Dr. Barret Michalec Joins CAIPER

From the Diamond State to the Desert...Dr. Barret Michalec Joins CAIPER

By Barret Michalec – September 9, 2020


“Let me get this straight. Your family is moving across the country to the desert, in the middle of a global pandemic, and in the middle of summer?  That’s your plan?  Only you, Michalec.” 

These were the words of ‘encouragement’ from a trusted colleague and friend over a virtual happy-hour in mid-June.

Sure, contextually, to those not familiar with the world of health professions education, and interprofessional education (IPE) specifically, this transition from Associate Dean of IPE at the University of Delaware (UD) to Director of a Center at Arizona State University (ASU) during this unprecedented time seemed a bit wild and perhaps even reckless. But, this was the opportunity of a life-time – to learn from Dr. Gerri Lamb, to work with an outstanding and ground-breaking team (i.e. Nina Karamehmedovic, Yvonne Price, and Jody Thompson), and to lead the prestigious CAIPER into new and exciting directions that could directly impact the IPE landscape on a national and international scale. 

Moreover, I would be able to work within the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, known for aligning clinical and service-based education with stellar interdisciplinary research. We donned our masks, packed extra lotion with SPF, and boarded the flight to Phoenix. Rock and roll.


While at UD, I had the privilege to work with and learn from Dr. Kathy Matt, the Dean of the College of Health Sciences, and who, interestingly, had started her career at ASU. She promotes innovative and creative thinking, and pushing disciplinary (and interdisciplinary) boundaries is strongly encouraged. It was within this environment that I founded UD’s own interprofessional center, CIDER, and developed various unique and novel IPE programs, including the pilot of I-TEAM (Interprofessional Training in Empathy, Affect, & Mindfulness) – for which I earned the notable Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Faculty Scholar award.

Moving forward

CAIPER has been known for its attention to the clinical environment, providing dynamic products such as the CAIPER Interprofessional By Design® eLearning modules, the Team Care Connections digital magazines, the forthcoming microlearning module series developed specifically for the Clinical Learning Environment (CLE), and the highly collaborative CAIPER blog, which includes guest authors from all health professions, healthcare team members, students and collaborative partners. 

As the new Director of CAIPER, we will maintain this productive focus and expand our efforts in the educational/classroom environment to develop on-the-ground, hybrid, and virtual IPE programs for ASU health profession students (and our affiliated partners) at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Furthermore, we will align our mission and goals to focus more intently and purposely on the socio-cultural environment, ensuring that CAIPER-related efforts, products, and overarching leadership strategy promotes interprofessional and interdisciplinary approaches to social justice in health, equity, belonging, and wellness in the health professions and team-based care delivery, and the exploration of challenging ethical dilemmas in health and healthcare. 

We will serve as an exemplary catalyst at the national level for interprofessional approaches to social change. 

We will step boldly into the entrepreneurial environment, encouraging and promoting interprofessional and interdisciplinary approaches to creative, collaborative problem solving in the realm of transformative design of spaces, services, and structures.

Empathy, service and collaboration

As a member of the Edson College faculty and ASU scholarly community, I am excited to lead through empathy, service, and collaboration. I look forward to leveraging my sociology background through course offerings, mentoring, and research and learning opportunities in social determinants of health, health and social policy, social psychological theory, emotions, and qualitative methods. 

I knew that stepping into this position during this remarkable time would be challenging on a number of personal and professional levels, and that is what makes it so exciting and engaging. I truly could not be more motivated and enthusiastic to lead CAIPER into our next stages of development and transformation. This is, indeed, the opportunity of a lifetime.


For more background on my socio-cultural and structural focus and overarching personal vision and mission (that I bring to CAIPER and Edson), below are a few recent news pieces that I have found impactful.

Why doesn’t medical school prioritize social justice?

"If academic medical institutions are serious about equity, work in the community should be celebrated as much as research papers are."

How To Invest Your Money, Regardless Of The Amount, To Promote Racial Justice

"As the country confronts unaddressed systemic racism and bias, many are searching for ways to promote racial way is to literally invest in racial justice, putting your dollars — no matter the amount — into funds, banks, projects and businesses that promote and advance people of color."

The ice cream truck song

"A popular ice cream truck jingle called "Turkey in the Straw" has a racist past. So Good Humor ice cream company tapped Wu-Tang Clan's RZA to create a new one."


About the Author

Barret MichalecBarret Michalec, PhD, is the Director of ASU’s Center for Advancing Interprofessional Practice, Education & Research and Associate Professor at the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation. As Director, he promotes and enhances ongoing CAIPER initiatives and programs, cultivates productive collaborative partnerships, as well as identifies and expands interprofessional learning and practice opportunities for students, faculty, and community members. As a sociologist, Barret brings unique and novel perspectives on various aspects of IPE/IPCP, with a keen eye on evaluation and assessment. His research focuses on socialization and professionalization processes and mechanisms within health professions education, disparities in health and health professions, intergroup and interpersonal processes, and empathy.

Follow Us


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Be the first to know as we add more trainings and resources!