Structure and Process for Interdisciplinary Education
Haggerty Davis, Janet
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Session presented on Friday, September 26, 2014: Purpose: Due to the complexity of our current and emerging health care system, emphasis is increasingly being placed on the need for student education in interdisciplinary health care teams. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines interdisciplinary education as "when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes." Models for interdisciplinary education have been developed and some institutions have provided interdisciplinary education using case-based scenarios. The WHO proposes that interprofessional education is a necessary step in preparing a collaborative ready healthcare workforce. Programmatic accreditation standards provide a public record of a profession's interdisciplinary values and beliefs. Methods: The Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a primary national voice for accreditation and quality assurance to the US Congress and the US Department of Education. It serves as a national voice for accreditation to the general public, opinion leaders and students. It is also represents the US accreditation community to international audiences. CHEA recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. Twenty-three of these organizations are human health-related. To identify interdisciplinary education programmatic standards, a content analysis of these 23 human health-related CHEA programmatic accreditation standards sets was conducted. Four (4) key words were used (interprofessional, interdisciplinary, intraprofessional, multidisciplinary) to locate potentially relevant statements within each accreditation organization's standards and guidelines documents. Identified statements were categorized as accountable, non-accountable or non-applicable. Results: Accreditation standards for 11 health professions included the reference words of interprofessional, interdisciplinary, intraprofessional or multidiciplinary. The expectation that students are educated regarding interdisciplinary teams was evident in two disciplines, Nursing and Pharmacy, but the outcomes for these professions' respective standards were not measurable. No structure or process expectations in the standards to support interdisciplinary education were evident. Conclusion: The majority of todays faculty are not credentialed to support interdisciplinary teaching as they were educated in a system reflecting traditional, professional silos. Accreditation standards do not specify the dean's role or the programmatic advisory board's role in supporting interdisciplinary education. The purposeful cultivation of skills built on the values and ethics for interdisciplinary practice requires programmatic accreditation structure and process mandated support.