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The Mark of an Interprofessional Leader – Our Team’s Experience

August 17, 2020

Leadership change can bring a mixed bag of emotions ranging from uncertainty and apprehension to excitement – and everything in between. The Center for Advancing Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (CAIPER) is undergoing this important transition of leadership and we, as a team, are no exception to that uncertainty and excitement.

As CAIPER’s Founding Director, Dr. Gerri Lamb, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, transitions from center director to focus on interprofessional research and new leadership initiatives, the CAIPER team welcomes new Director, Dr. Barret Michalec, PhD. Reflecting on past years with our Founding Director and looking forward to the next stage in CAIPER’s future, has proven to be a unique, emotional, and highly enriching teamwork experience for us all.

The legacy of an interprofessional leader

Dr. Lamb’s decades-long career has spanned healthcare practice and education fields and recorded numerous successes in leading notable innovative research grants with focus on interprofessional education and collaborative practice.

Mobilizing interprofessional academic and clinical partnerships within Arizona State University (ASU), locally and nationally, Dr. Lamb has championed collaboration across diverse disciplines and research to understand and implement optimum team performance and outcomes. 

As a team, under Dr. Lamb’s leadership, we tackled many burgeoning topics in the interprofessional arena and always sought to develop highly engaging and innovative products and tools.

One of Yvonne’s most memorable projects has been the Team Care Connections digital magazine, which brings together all the color and design of a magazine with the interactivity and engagement you’d expect in a professional training.

Nina’s first big foray into project management with CAIPER was the development of eight signature IPE eLearning modules. Envisioned and created in true interprofessional and collaborative fashion - with active participation by students, faculty, funders, subject matter experts and instructional designers - the modules established a blueprint for many other CAIPER initiatives and remain highly utilized and positively reviewed resources by both internal and external users.

Jody’s most impactful work during her time under Dr. Lamb’s leadership includes the projects and research involving moral distress and moral injury in order to develop training and tools to support healthcare teams.

While Dr. Lamb is transitioning to focus on new interprofessional projects, we are excited that she will continue to be a champion for CAIPER, and partner on future interprofessional grants and research.

A team experience of interprofessional leadership

When Dr. Lamb founded CAIPER within Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation in 2015, she probably did not intentionally set out to also create a lasting legacy of highly transformational leadership with her CAIPER team – but has succeed in doing just that. To us, Nina Karamehmedovic, Yvonne Price and Jody Thompson, Dr. Lamb has been much more than a Director.

This is our team’s experience of working with a truly interprofessional and collaborative leader.

Nina Karamehmedovic

Nina KaramehmedovicDr. Lamb hired me – a newcomer with no background in IPE and an impossible-to-pronounce last name – as a Project Coordinator on a Josiah Macy Jr. grant in 2013. I could not have known then that this opportunity would become a once in a lifetime gift. Working alongside Gerri – not only a highly renowned expert in her domain, but also an unsurpassed leader, visionary, collaborator, mentor and friend – and developing CAIPER from the ground up, has been a rare privilege and a remarkable personal and professional journey.

I look forward to supporting CAIPER’s direction with Dr. Barret Michalec at its helm as we build and expand on Gerri’s enduring imprint. 

Yvonne Price

Yvonne PriceI remember many years ago in 2010, while I was working interprofessional education at University of Arizona, I kept hearing the name “Gerri Lamb” in connection with all things IPE at ASU. I regularly heard about all the fast-moving and impactful work that Gerri was doing in Phoenix. I wondered if I’d ever have the chance to meet this amazing person who was so highly regarded by people I knew. As luck would have it, I did.  

Fast-forward six years, and I now fully understand what all those people were talking about! As CAIPER transitions leadership, I feel enormously fortunate to have shared a part of my career with a true interprofessional colleague and leader. Gerri has led CAIPER with grace and expertise in the both easiest, and most challenging situations, and inspired me every step of the way. I take that inspiration forward, toward new experiences and with new leadership.

Jody Thompson

Jody ThompsonDr. Lamb encourages and inspires collaborative spaces for those around her to share their own voice, vision, and experience. I like to think of Dr. Lamb’s work like sewing a quilt- when you stand back, you see one large piece- beautifully organized and meticulously detailed. When you look closer, you see how every thread connects to another, how every pattern of each square of fabric connects to another, weaving in and out with no starting point and no ending point but it all comes together.

It’s hard to find the starting point or ending point for the work and leadership of Gerri- it’s a continuum and it’s this continuum that I strive to carry forward in the work we do for the students and healthcare teams in our communities and will continue with CAIPER’s new leader.

Welcoming a new interprofessional leader

The CAIPER team has had an opportunity to participate in the leadership succession planning. The selection process also included providing input into important characteristics we wanted to see in an ideal Director candidate. Our trust in the process and ASU leadership has paid off, and we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Michalec as the new Director of CAIPER and an Associate Professor at the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Barret MichalecDr. Michalec joins us from the University of Delaware, where he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary Initiatives & Interprofessional Education within the College of Health Sciences.

As a sociologist, Dr. Michalec brings complementary, yet unique and novel perspectives on various aspects of interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP), 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.

Looking to the future

This is where the excitement on our end kicks in with utmost certainty. Our team now has the privilege and the advantage of two exceptional and enthusiastic leaders and scholars.  Each brings their respective IPECP acumens together to collaborate on several new projects and shape the future direction of CAIPER and IPECP at Edson, and beyond.

Look out for a blog article from CAIPER’s new Director, Dr. Michalec, in the next few weeks.

About the Authors

This article was written collaboratively by CAIPER team members, Nina Karamehmedovic (lead author), Yvonne Price and Jody Thompson.  


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