Development and preliminary assessment of interprofessional education focused on vulnerable populations

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Journal of Allied Health

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© 2018 Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, Wash., DC. With the current state of the U.S. healthcare system, interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) has never been more important. Health professions educators are increasingly incorporating interprofessional education (IPE) in their curricula in order to prepare students for IPCP. The Health-Focused IPE Community of Practice (representing nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, rehabilitation counseling, social work, and speech-language pathology) at the University of Texas at El Paso has created a unique IPE model centered on vulnerable populations. The purposes of this paper are to describe the early development of this innovative IPE model and present findings from an evaluation of an IPE learning experience focused on a case involving a transgender individual. The evaluation of the first IPE activity demonstrated that the students' knowledge and attitudes related to interprofessional collaboration improved for all participating professions. Additionally, the post-training evaluation revealed that students were more comfortable providing services to transgender individuals than interacting with them. This IPE model has leveraged the strengths of community-engaged faculty in order to infuse content related to vulnerable populations across multiple curricula. This holistic approach models to the students that complex problems require multifaceted solutions generated by IPCP.

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