The mission of the Yakima Valley Interprofessional Practice and Education Collaborative (YVIPEC) is to promote the highest quality of health care in the Yakima Valley through creating a culture of inclusive and collaborative interprofessional education, practice, and scholarship.
Health care professionals trained in the Yakima Valley will practice collaboratively to improve health.
Formation of the YVIPEC
In the fall of 2014, several institutions of higher learning in the Yakima Valley coalesced to form the Yakima Valley Interprofessional Practice and Education Collaborative (YVIPEC). The central goal of the YVIPEC was to encourage healthcare educational programs to provide and advocate for learning across disciplines that enabled students to learn with, from, and about each other’s professions. That goal was expanded to include education in interprofessional engagement among faculty and community health providers. The overarching intent was to promote the highest quality of healthcare education and delivery in the region through a culture of inclusive and collaborative interprofessional education, practice, and scholarship.
Interprofessional education (IPE) fosters a team-based approach to health care which is the approach used in rural health clinics and is reported to be critical to success in working in medically underserved areas. To guide the development of YVIPEC, a Steering Committee, as well as an Advisory Council were formed. The steering committee has since been replaced with an Internal Advisory Council and is comprised of representatives from the health programs within the member institutions of the YVIPEC. Those institutions and their healthcare education programs include:
- Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU), with representation from the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and soon the Doctor of Physical Therapy and Master in Arts of Medical Science
- Heritage University (HU), with representation from the Medical Laboratory Science Program and the Nursing Program
- Washington State University (WSU), with representation from the Nursing Program and the Doctor of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science Program
- Central Washington University (CWU), with representation from the Paramedicine Program, the Nutrition/Dietetics Program, and the Master of Public Health Program
- Washington State Allied Health Center of Excellence, located at Yakima Valley College.
In the early years of the inception of the YVIPEC, the focus was to develop support for the healthcare programs with regard to structure and function (curriculum development, faculty development, bylaws, policy, etc.) that would promote interprofessional education. The tasks of the Advisory Council in the early years were to provide guidance from the perspective of changing healthcare and related practices. Advisory council members included healthcare providers from Toppenish, to Yakima, to Ellensburg. They included representatives from hospitals and clinics, senior living care facilities, dental and orthodontic practices, city and government agencies, and mental and social health services. Although many institutions of higher learning have interprofessional education programs, YVIPEC is perhaps the very first collaborative that involves multiple professions from multiple institutions in multiple towns. It is rewarding to know that so many are interested in and committed to the success of creating a regional center of interprofessional education excellence.
Just after the 2014-15 academic year ended, PNWU was awarded a five-year, $1.7 million research grant to study interprofessional education among medical and physician assistant students. The grant application was a collaborative effort by YVIPEC members as well as administration, staff, and faculty at PNWU. The study duration was for five consecutive years, with a six-month extension, that ended on December 31, 2020
The History of Interprofessional Practice and Education
Recognizing the importance of interprofessional education as one of the innovative approaches that can help tackle the global health workforce challenge, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a WHO Study Group on Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice in 2007 to articulate a greater understanding of this issue within a global context. It was tasked with providing guidance to the Member States on how they could use interprofessional collaboration to scale-up and build more flexible health workforces that enable local health needs to be met efficiently and effectively while maximizing resources.
The WHO Study Group engaged various partners and undertook a program of work that culminated in the publication of WHO’s Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice in March 2010. The Framework highlights the current status of interprofessional collaboration around the world, identifies the mechanisms that shape successful collaborative teamwork, and outlines a series of action items that policymakers can apply within their local health system. It provides strategies and ideas that can help health policymakers implement the elements of interprofessional education and collaborative practice that will be most beneficial in their own jurisdiction.