Interprofessional education (IPE) is growing increasingly more important and foundational to improving practice and patient care. Interprofessional education involves educators and learners from two or more health professions and their foundational disciplines who jointly create and foster a collaborative learning environment in which learners develop the competencies core to effective collaborative, patient-centered practice that is focused on improving patient outcomes: evidence-based, quality-driven, and technology-enabled. The University of Arizona seeks to become a nationally-recognized premier institution for IPE by 2020. Since 2007 Arizona AHEC has learned important lessons about implementing IPE strategies. Three current/recent initiatives supported by Arizona AHEC include the following:
- Yuma Interprofessional Activities: Integrating Pharmacy Practice Residents and Student Pharmacists into Practice to Promote Innovative Pharmacy Services in San Luis, Arizona: This program provides interprofessional training and pharmacy workforce development in a rural setting for pharmacy students and pharmacy residents. Additionally, this program expands clinical pharmacy services for a rural, border population that suffers from significant health disparities.
- Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPEP) at the Arizona Health Sciences Center: This program provides opportunities for students and trainees to learn and practice together in interprofessional (IP) teams in order to improve the health of their patients, families and communities.
- The AzAHEC Fellowship Program in Clinical Outcomes and Comparative Effectiveness Research in Rural Primary Care: Completed in June 2013, this program brought together doctorally-prepared fellows from pharmacy, public health, medicine and nursing. The program focused on primary care for rural underserved patients, families and communities in Arizona through the collaborative efforts of clinician-educators, the AzAHEC regional centers and local partners.