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Designing Interdisciplinary Health Professions Curricula for the Future

Grant Winners

  • Marcus Droege, Ph.D. – College of Pharmacy
  • Bini Litwin, Ph.D. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Rebecca Rosenthal, J.D. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Paula Anderson-Worts, D.O. – College of Osteopathic Medicine


  • Richard Davis – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Anthony Silvagni – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Andrés Malavé – College of Pharmacy


Introduction: In order to prepare health care practitioners to deliver quality patient care services, health professions education, by necessity, must foster integrated multidisciplinary practice. In a highly publicized series of reports on health care quality, the National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2000) attributed nearly 100,000 deaths per year in the U.S. to medical errors resulting, in part, from the fragmented delivery of health care. Based on its reports, the IOM has proposed five core competencies essential in educating clinicians regardless of discipline. These competencies include patient-centered care, interdisciplinary teams, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and informatics.

To enact change into the system, health professions education must be reformed so future practitioners learn to collaborate and coordinate patient care effectively as members of multidisciplinary teams.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate if and how health professions academic programs have responded to the challenge of preparing students for multidisciplinary clinical practice, by assessing whether programs educate students to deliver care according to the core competencies identified by the IOM.

Methods: Data will be collected using a cross-sectional, self-administered questionnaire in combination with telephone interviews directed to approximately 400 individuals identified nationally, as those involved in developing professional health curricula for chosen medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and physical therapy programs.

Analysis: Data obtained will be analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results will be evaluated using standard frequency analysis to examine responses as well as to examine significant differences between evaluator groups in their responses to key questions. Responses to open-ended questions will be analyzed for common themes.

Significance: The results of this study are expected to provide information as to what extent current health professions curricula are designed to educate clinicians to meet the educational needs for 21st century healthcare systems.

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