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Seton Hall University

Collaboration Across Disciplines  

"Interprofessional Education: When students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes."World Health Organization. Learning Together to Work Together for Health. Report of a WHO study group on multiprofessional education for health personnel: the team approach. Geneva 1988

Eric LeGrand, Buffy Wojciehowski, DPT '07, and Gabriella Stiefbold on stage at the In today's dynamic healthcare environment, the Interprofessional Practice (IPP) model is finding much success. Through IPP, the diverse expertise of each healthcare professional is harnessed to develop and manage a team-based, patient-centered plan of care.

For this collaborative approach to be successful, healthcare professionals must understand the knowledge base and skill sets of their colleagues so that mutual respect and trust can emerge. To meet this growing need, the School of Health and Medical Sciences has embarked upon an Interprofessional Education (IPE) strategic initiative.

The premise of IPE at SHMS is to bring together students, faculty, clinical partners, alumni and other stakeholders from different healthcare professions to learn about, learn from and learn with each other — leading to effective collaboration and, ultimately, improved health outcomes for our patients and communities.

"Communication and collegial dialogue across professional 'silos' foster a value-added healthcare environment where clinical decision-making is a team approach," says Brian B. Shulman, PhD, Dean of the School. "As educators, it is our role to create experiences that develop students' interprofessional abilities, thus supporting a patient-centered approach to practice."

Established in 2012, the SHMS IPE Task Force — comprised of nine full-time faculty members from the six academic programs in the School's Division of Health Sciences — explores and creates sustainable experiential learning opportunities related to the IPE mission. Over the past year, the School has engaged in several thought-provoking experiences, including the Inaugural IPE Symposium; the "Exploring Possibilities" Faculty Retreat; the "Eric LeGrand's New Team" presentation (part of the new SHMS Interprofessional Perspectives Speaker Series); and several ReelAbilities film screenings. (Details below.) 

The results have been impressive: "It's essential to take the time to talk to colleagues in different programs," said third-year Occupational Therapy student Michael Tavares when asked what he took away from the IPE Symposium experience, which featured a video case about a patient with traumatic brain injury and cross-discipline breakout discussions. "The conversations opened my eyes to new perspectives and showed me that it's really important to work as a team." 

SHMS faculty recognize that IPE is critical to students' success as future healthcare leaders. The characteristics necessary to succeed as part of a healthcare team are not innate to all professionals. More so, they are not frequently apparent in the silo-based educational model. For example, students traditionally train in their professional silos with the expectation that they will learn how to function as a team member during their clinical education experiences or when employed. SHMS, rather, is preparing students didactically and experientially for interprofessional practice from day one. 

This continuum of IPE experiences promotes a culture — and a community — of professional discourse and reflection. We invite you to join our journey by sharing your expertise, ideas and talents in creating a rich and meaningful interprofessional learning environment for all. 

To learn how you can get involved, contact Genevieve Pinto Zipp, PT, EdD, chair of SHMS' IPE Task Force, at (973) 275-2457 or

2013 SHMS Interprofessional Education Initiatives

Inaugural IPE Symposium
April 9
SHMS student cohorts participated together in a problem-based learning (PBL) exercise related to a traumatic brain injury video case that was presented by a clinician from the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. An interprofessional panel presented their diverse perspectives after the PBL session.

“Exploring Possibilities” Faculty Retreat
August 20
SHMS faculty explored diverse IPE teaching and learning strategies. Health sciences colleagues from three different institutions provided an overview of their own IPE program strategies, barriers and outcomes. Breakout sessions resulted in collaborative dialogue about SHMS’ future direction related to IPE.

Eric LeGrand’s New Team
September 16
The first event of the SHMS Interprofessional Perspectives Speaker Series, this premier program welcomed nearly 1,000 members of the Seton Hall community to hear the inspirational stories of Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football player who was paralyzed during a game, and his physical and occupational therapists from Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, SHMS alumna Sandra “Buffy” Wojciehowski, PT, DPT ’07, and Gabriella Stiefbold, OT, ATP, respectively.

ReelAbilities Film Screenings
March 13-14, August 21, October 28
At special events on campus, including SHMS’ New Student Orientation and its Fall Dual-Degree Dinner, students watched and discussed films featuring the inspiring stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities, including paralysis by Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Tourette Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down Syndrome.

This story originally appeared in the 2013 issue of Insights magazine, published annually by the School of Health and Medical Sciences. Read the rest of the magazine here.

Categories: Health and Medicine

For more information, please contact:

  • Lori Riley
  • (973) 313-6077
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