History of IPE at UNTHSC


black and white photo of medical students1972

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) conference, The Interrelationships of Educational Programs for Health

Professionals, explored whether health care could be enhanced through improved interaction between health professionals. A lack of synergistic interrelationships between all the professionals contributing to the patient’s well-being was identified. Therefore, one goal of the conference was to identify strategies to better prepare future health professionals to work cooperatively.

The Conference Assumptions:

Health professionals are not prepared to function in health care teams:

  • Traditional perceptions of roles and misinformation about colleagues in other professions, along with a lack of a common language, interfere with productive team dynamics.
  • The institutions training the health professions were struggling to find a rationale and process for collaborating together.
  • Students are more apt to become cooperative practitioners when opportunities to experience working together happen while still in school, in valid models of cooperative health care delivery.
  • Cooperative efforts must be reinforced by seeing cooperative practice, behavioral models among faculty.
  • Faculty have a responsibility to develop new skills in Interprofessional teaching.

The Conference Report:

Educating for the Health Team suggested that:

  • “The needs of patients and communities can be better met by the use of teams.”
  • “Teams have no real social utility (though) unless they meet the needs of individuals or

communities more efficiently, more effectively, more economically, more humanely, and    in a more personalized way.”


The Institute of Medicine’s report, Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality, recommends that “All health professionals should be educated to deliver patient-centered care as members of an interdisciplinary team, emphasizing evidence-based practice, quality improvement approaches, and informatics.”


The Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) is formed by six national associations for schools of health professions to promote Interprofessional learning. (AACN Nursing, AACOM Osteopathic Medicine, AACP Pharmacy, ADEA Dentistry, AAMC Allopathic Medicine, and ASPH Public Health)


The World Health Organization’s (WHO) report, Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice, highlights the importance of Interprofessional education and practice. The report defines the function of health care teams as a collaborative practice: a process in “which multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, care givers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.” It describes what we are referring to as Interprofessional practice.

The WHO identifies effective collaboration among the health professions (Interprofessional Practice) as an innovative strategy in mitigating the global health crisis. Interprofessional Education is identified as an avenue to prepare health professions students in collaborative competencies, so to become a part of an Interprofessional, practice-ready health workforce.

The WHO defines Interprofessional Education (IPE) to occur “when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health.”


IPEC’s report, Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, is published and identifies 4 Core IPE Competency Domains, which are common across all health professions. The report’s purpose is to guide curricula development related to collaborative practice competencies across the health professions.

black and white photo of med students readingIPEC 4 IPE Core Competency Domains are:

  • Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice
  • Roles/Responsibilities within Interprofessional Practice
  • Interprofessional Communication
  • Teams and Teamwork


The University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) identifies Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPE/P) as a primary initiative in the institutional strategic plan. The Department of Interprofessional Education and Practice is created to establish an institutional culture of IPE across its five colleges/schools (Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, UNT System College of Pharmacy, School of Health Professions, PA and PT, School of Public Health, and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences).

Texas Christian University (TCU) and UNTHSC use their resources and proximity to enter into a memorandum of understanding for students across the professions of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, biomedical sciences, public health, dietetics, social work, speech language pathology, and athletic training to learn “about, from and witheach other within the context of Interprofessional teams.


An IPE Curriculum Committee is developed consisting of representation from each of five UNTHSC colleges/schools and TCU participating health professions to work collaboratively on IPE curriculum.

Faculty from UNTHSC and TCU participate together in IPE faculty development and attend the IPEC IPE Institutes together as institutional IPE partners.


A common institutional IPE calendar is established across UNTHSC and TCU for health professions students, allowing for shared IPE student team learning activities across the health professions.  Texas Woman’s University (TWU) becomes an institutional IPE partner with UNTHSC and TCU.

An annual Interprofessional Symposium for Interprofessional collaboration between academics, the clinical practice community, and health care organizations is inaugurated at UNTHSC. It is collaboratively planned by UNTHSC, TCU, TWU and community partners: the Health industry Council Foundation, PWC (Price Waterhouse Coopers), and Merritt Hawkins.

This page was last modified on July 28, 2015