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ASU team selected for national grant to advance interprofessional education and team-based health care delivery

Denise Kronsteiner

The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education recently announced the grant recipients for its Accelerating Interprofessional Community-Based Education and Practice program. The College of Nursing and Health Innovation (CONHI) team, which includes a number of critical internal and external partners, was among only 16 project teams selected for funding by the National Center’s advisory council of leaders in Interprofessional Practice and Education.

“We are enthusiastic and grateful for this opportunity to advance our work in interprofessional education and practice,” said Teri Pipe, ASU’s chief well-being officer and dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. “The award from the National Center is a distinct honor and indicates the extraordinary work that is genuinely a shared effort among all of our partners. The award will directly benefit our learners and, ultimately, the health of our communities.”

CONHI was selected for its nurse-led initiative, "Interprofessional by Design: Meeting at the Crossroads to Accelerate Leadership Competency and Readiness for Translation to Interprofessional Practice."  Learning and working across professions — interprofessionalism — is a model of research, education and practice that is quickly becoming embedded within CONHI’s curriculum, research projects and in the college’s work with underserved communities, such as the SHOW clinic, a tri-university, student-run community initiative.

“Clinical care has rapidly evolved to become more team-based across professions and has begun to shift from acute-care settings to community settings,” said Barbara Brandt, director of the National Center. “Nurse-led interprofessional partnerships working with individuals and their families in community-based settings will have a significant impact on outcomes and set the stage for continued improvement.”

Each of the 16 project teams selected by the National Center are led by a graduate nursing program and includes one or more professional schools and a community clinical setting. Funded programs also will receive technical assistance and expert, in-person and group consultation and resources from the National Center to accelerate their interprofessional education and collaboration efforts in community settings.

“The collaborative efforts of our partners are essential to preparing our students for successful team-based practice,” said Karen Saewert, CONHI clinical professor, senior director of Academic Innovation, and co-principal investigator of the project team.

CONHI’s partners include ASU’s School of Social Work; the College of Public Service & Community Solutions; the School of Film, Dance and Theatre at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; as well as two new research centers — the WORLD-Institute and the Center for Advancing Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research. Partners also include the Arizona Action Coalition; Northern Arizona University’s College of Health and Human Services; the SHOW clinic; and Crossroads Inc., a licensed substance-abuse treatment provider that is serving as the team’s community partner.

“The men and women who enroll in our programs have the main presenting issue of substance abuse, yet most of our clients need help across the entire spectrum of their lives — from relationships to ongoing physical and mental health issues,” said Lee Pioske, executive director at Crossroads. “This grant allows us to touch more issues in our clients’ lives, which will help to increase their quality of life and success upon reintegration into the community as sober, healthy, self-sufficient individuals.”

The primary goal of the grant-funded program is for health and other professional schools with a history of collaboration to work together with a community partner and the individuals and families it serves to develop innovative, creative and sustainable interprofessional clinical initiatives that accelerate the team’s existing interprofessional education.

“The goals align with ASU’s vision of a New American University, and answers the call for increased education to health professional students in substance abuse/dependence treatment, with a focus on the opioid epidemic, a major public health problem that is receiving national attention and urgent calls for increased federal and state funding,” said Liz Harrell, CONHI assistant clinical professor, director of the SHOW clinic initiative, and principal investigator of the project.

Teams gathered in Minneapolis last week for an immersive Accelerating kickoff institute where they collaborated directly with National Center staff and faculty to leverage current resources and evidence, and create initial work and implementation plans for their projects.

Recognizing the importance of interprofessional education and collaboration, this program received support from the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at the University of Minnesota and was funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.