National honor for interprofessional medical education in Texas

By Alex Branch

Award Web
A consortium of health professions institutions that was cofounded by UNT Health Science Center has received national recognition for advancing interprofessional medical education in Texas.

The Texas Inteprofessional Education Consortium was awarded honorable mention in July at the 2018 George E. Thibault, MD, Nexus Awards in Minneapolis.

The awards are given annually by the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education (IPE) to those who “think and act differently through innovation to connect higher education and health care.”

The consortium is unique because it is a collaboration between 27 Texas academic institutions and one health care system that previously more often viewed each other as competitors.

“I think what has caught the national eye is this broad collection of state institutions coming together to improve quality and safety in health care,” said David Farmer, PhD, UNTHSC Director of Interprofessional Education and Practice. “Other states are beginning to look at Texas and ask, ‘How can we achieve this, too?’’’

UNT Health Science Center was one of four founding institutional members of the Texas Interprofessional Education Task Force created in 2015 with Texas Tech University, the University of Texas System and Texas A&M University health science centers.

The task force transitioned to a consortium in 2017 to reflect the initiative’s permanency.

The consortium’s overarching goal is to prepare all Texas health professional students to collaboratively work together to reach a common goal of well-coordinated, high-quality, patient-centered care for all Texans.

By shaping uniform IPE core competencies for students no matter what state academic medical institution they attend, the consortium is helping prepare students to collaborate professionally.

After graduation, many students will get jobs in the same hospitals, clinics and other health care settings. If they share common training — a common language and understanding of teamwork — they will be much better prepared to work together as a high-performing team.

“We know that high-performing teams can reduce preventable medical errors and ensure patients receive the highest quality of care,” Dr. Farmer said.

Charles Taylor, Pharm.D, UNTHSC Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the university is proud of its role in the consortium and of the national honor.

“This award recognizes the consortium’s ongoing commitment to improving team-based collaborative care and developing innovative, interprofessional training methodologies to transform health care education across the state of Texas,” Dr. Taylor said.

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