"Interprofessional practice and education creates an environment where healthcare professionals can learn to value each other’s contributions to the health of individuals and communities. Planning and training together to create a seamless delivery system which puts the patients safety and health as the highest priorities."
Dr. Robert Sutton, Interim President, Pacific Northwest University and Visionary Leader of the YVIPEC.
Yakima Valley Interprofesional Practice and Education Collaborative (YVIPEC)
Formation of the YVIPEC
One goal of PNWU’s strategic plan is to expand graduate level educational opportunities. In response to that goal, the Yakima Valley Interprofessional Practice and Education Collaborative (YVIPEC) was established in the fall of 2014 to promote the highest quality health care 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, both a steering committee and an advisory council were formed. The steering committee is comprised of representatives from the following institutions and health programs:
- Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine;
- Heritage University (HU), Physician Assistant Program and Nursing Program;
- Washington State University (WSU), Nursing Program and Pharmacy Program;
- Central Washington University (CWU), Paramedicine Program and Dietetics Program;
- and the Washington State Allied Health Center of Excellence, located at Yakima Valley College.
Their focus has been to develop the program in regard to structure and function (curriculum development, faculty development, bylaws, policy, etc.). The advisory council provides guidance from the perspective of changing health care and related practices. Advisory council members, from Toppenish through Ellensburg, are from hospitals and clinics, senior living care facilities, dental and orthodontia practices, city and government agencies, and mental and social health services. Although many institutions of higher learning have interprofessional education programs, YVIPEC is the only known collaborative that involves multiple professions from multiple institutions in multiple towns. It is rewarding to know that so many are interested and committed to the success of creating a regional center of interprofessional education excellence.
Just after the 2014-15 academic year ended, PNWU was notified that it had been 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 and PNWU faculty. The study will be coordinated by PNWU’s Office of Scholarly Activity. For more information regarding this grant, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.