Interprofessional Education Ensures Healthcare is Stronger

Dec 5, 2014
Erin Howe

Dr. George Thibault

Differing perspectives make experiences richer for health care professionals and the people they help.

That was one of the messages delivered by George Thibault, the keynote speaker at Reaching the Summit:Leading the Way From Interprofessional Education to Practice. Thibault is the President of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, which works to improve American health care and supports projects that broadens and improves health profession education.

The conference took place December 2 at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel. More than 100 researchers, educators, clinicians and hospital leaders took part in the event, which featured discussions about best practices in Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Interprofessional Practice (IPP).

“We need to partner with each other as health professionals, but we also need to work with the patients and communities we serve,” said Thibault. “IPE is not an end in itself. We should be doing it because the goal is to improve patient care.”

Chrystal Gomes, a patient advocate and stand-up comedienne provided her perspective on navigating the health care system. She lives with numerous ailments including Multiple Sclerosis, depression and chronic pain. She is also a caregiver to her mother who lives with Alzheimer’s Disease. Her experiences highlight the need for collaborative, patient-centered care. 

Gomes spoke about the importance of empowering professionals to work together and communicate with their patients. She also expressed a need for open-mindedness to become a sought-after trait in prospective health professionals.

“IPE is a common theme across health professions,” said Sarita Verma, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. “This model of collaborative learning is tremendously beneficial for students and patients alike. The impact on the health system has included reduced wait times, better coordinated care, and more efficient work patterns.”                    

Dr. Bob Bell, Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care was another special guest at the event and delivered the opening remarks. Leaders in IPE also led discussions and breakout sessions aimed at increasing collaborative learning in the future, evaluating the success of IPE and nurturing faculty development.

“We know we have a great Toronto Model, we have superb integration across the health sciences, we have the breadth and depth of unparalleled resources here,” said Verma. “We’ve got lots of ideas about Canadian experiences in IPE, and it’s time to take these to the next level.”

Read a Q&A with Dr. George Thibault  as well as more on IPE in the Fall 2014 issue of U of T Medicine magazine




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