IPE_Leite Welcome

Dean Randy Leite welcomes nearly 80 IPE symposium participants.

Photographer: Lauren Dickey

IPE 2015 planners and speakers

Randy Leite, Larry Hurtubise, Carol Hasbrouck, Sally Marinellie, Jane Kleinman, and Ken Johnson.

Photographer: Lauren Dickey

Featured Stories


Symposium offered by CHSP and Heritage College explores the promise of health care teamwork

Prominent speakers discuss IPE strategies


The theme was building bridges, as nearly 80 Ohio University faculty and staff members gathered Oct. 2 for the second annual Interprofessional Education Symposium.

Attendees were primarily from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Health Sciences and Professions. Participants shared accounts of their own interprofessional programs and ideas on how to promote collaboration in the health care professions, with the ultimate aim to improve the care and safety of patients.

CHSP Dean Randy Leite, Ph.D., launched the event by sharing an experience about his daughter’s recent hospitalization.

Leite said the attending health care team demonstrated interprofessional interaction, as though they were “not just treating a disease, or ordering a procedure, but caring for a patient.”

With more than 9,500 students currently enrolled in CHSP and the Heritage College, Leite saw an opportunity to effect real change with interprofessional education. “We have a chance to give those students a foundation that will really transform health care,” he said.

Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O., shared his hope that the “patient-centered home” model of primary care could become even more collaborative, and become a “patient-centered neighborhood” of health care professionals. To get to that point will not be easy, he acknowledged – “The health system of today… is not even close to where we want it to be.”

To reach the goal, Johnson said, it will be crucial to train different health care professionals to work in teams in clinical settings. “[In sports] if you have a bunch of people on a team and you don’t allow them to practice together, how can they be an effective team?” he asked.

Johnson added, “Randy and I and our teams have been meeting on a regular basis to discuss how we evolve the way we train our students and the way we work together. I realize as a physician that interprofessional care goes beyond the different disciplines, so the challenge is how to integrate everything as we move forward.”

Event speakers Carol Hasbrouck, M.A. (University of Toledo College of Medicine), Amy Rohling McGee, M.S.W. (president, Health Policy Institute of Ohio-HPIO), and Susan Moffatt-Bruce, M.D. (Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center) focused on two important factors addressed by an interprofessional approach. Internally, medical institutions are grappling for ways to increase the quality of care while containing or reducing costs. Externally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), accrediting agencies, insurance providers and other parties are moving from a fee-based to value-based model of care. All the speakers agreed that both factors will drive the transformation to interprofessional education and care because it has been shown to improve patient care, contain or reduce costs and produce better outcomes.

“When preventable medical errors rank as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.—just behind heart disease and cancer—then we need to be looking at ways that we can increase safety and improve the quality of care,” said Hasbrouck, current director of the UT College of Medicine’s School for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education. “To my mind, an interprofessional medical approach that champions teamwork and communication is the way to reduce those 200,000-400,000 preventable deaths a year.”

For IPE to make an impact, Hasbrouck said, it can’t be just a short-term add-on to a curriculum. “It really should be longitudinal and become part of the culture.”

She added that while health care professionals in training can learn to collaborate in teams while in school, they may find themselves having to push the idea in the workplace. “What we’re telling our students is, ‘You may have to be the leaders in this.’”  

One of the biggest barriers to getting students and faculty to buy into IPE programs, according to Hasbrouck, is carving time out of existing schedules. At Toledo, she said, the deans of the colleges involved agreed to mandate a regular time every Friday for the IPE course to meet, which proved advantageous. “You can’t have scheduling be the conflict that stands in your way.”

One working example of IPE at OHIO came from the Global Health Initiative, whose stated mission is “to engage OHIO faculty and students in collaborative, multi-disciplinary global health education, research and outreach.” Three GHI staffers gave a presentation on the creative strategies they’ve used to get some of their programs up and running.

Deborah Meyer, Ph.D., R.N., visiting assistant professor of global health, said one of the program’s success stories is the Global Health Case Competition. She called it “one of the most exciting things we do.” This program gives students the chance to work in multi-disciplinary teams to develop a plan to address some pressing global health problem in collaboration with an organization in the country where the problem exists. The prize for the winning team this year is a trip to a sub-Saharan African country to try to put their plan into action.

It hasn’t been easy to create opportunities for students to have meaningful interprofessional experiences, Meyer admitted. In trying to start a medical Spanish course, for example, she said, “we hit barriers at every step… Often people’s reflex is to say, ‘No, you can’t do that. We’ve never done it that way before.’ You do always have to look for creative ways to make things happen.”

Kamile Geist, M.A., M.T.-B.C., associate professor of music therapy and head of the university’s new Individual Interdisciplinary Program, said the program allows selected students, with support from a faculty committee made up of professors in multiple fields, to design their own customized degree programs drawing on different disciplines. The program, which will accept about 25 students, requires the student to design a study program with at least three areas of emphasis, she said.

Symposium keynote speaker Susan Moffatt-Bruce, M.D., chief quality and patient safety officer at the Ohio State University Medical Center, recounted that institution’s experience in employing teamwork to improve patient safety.

“At the center, we looked at 26 different types of models put forth for care,” she said. “We had two criteria for any changes we considered: 1) that they not cost more; and 2) that they wouldn’t reduce the quality of care.”

Using interprofessional education principles, Moffat-Bruce’s team trained 6,000 people working in medical care at OSU. As a result of that training, team members reduced patients’ waiting time for a cardiac catheterization from 10 days to six, reduced heart surgery patients’ time spent on a ventilator and developed a fall risk assessment tool called “Roger’s Wheel” to improve patient safety.

Moffatt-Bruce said trying to improve teamwork in the workplace has been a challenge. “We wanted to teach people to work as a team – which, as providers, is not how we’re trained,” she said. OSUMC has made interprofessional training mandatory. And regardless of rank, she said, employees are taught that “everybody has the right to stop the line, to escalate concerns” about potential risks to patients.

The good news, she said, is that the idea of working collaboratively to improve patient safety is catching on among providers. She expressed confidence that over time, it will make a huge difference. In a few years, she predicted, “we won’t even remember how we took care of patients in 2015.”

Panels composed of CHSP and Heritage College professionals ran concurrently with the speakers’ presentations, giving attendees practical advice on interprofessional teaching:

  • Integrating IPE into Your Course/Teaching—with Jane Balbo, D.O., Heritage College; Fabian Benecia, Ph.D., Heritage College; Leslie Coonfare, M.F.A., B.S.N., CHSP; Peter Giammalvo, Ph.D., CHSP; Tobe Gillogly, M.S., CHSP; and Kim Resonavich, R.N., CHSP.
  • IPE Activities at Ohio University—Jeff DiGiovanni, Ph.D., CHSP; Kamile Geist, M.A., CHSP; Gillian Ice, Ph.D., M.P.H., Heritage College; Blythe Jonas, Ph.D., Heritage College; Sally Marinellie, Ph.D., CHSP; John McCarthy, Ph.D., CHSP; and Jeff Russell, Ph.D., CHSP.

The symposium, organized by a steering committee co-chaired by CHSP’s Sally Marinellie, Ph.D., and Heritage College’s Larry Hurtubise, M.A., concluded with a workshop, Case Writing for IPE, led by Jane Kleinman, R.N., CEO of Performance Gap Solutions, and a specialist in immersive patient care simulation methodology and techniques.