About the Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education

The mission of the HPI Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education is to foster the development of innovative educational and practice models of team-based, collaborative care. The Center facilitates a "feedback loop" that informs educational content and process with the realities of practice to prepare the collaboration-ready workforce of tomorrow. The work of the Center represents a joint effort between the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences (Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Public Health), our clinical partner, UPMC, the second largest integrated finance and delivery system in the US as well as other academic institutions, practice and training sites and patients and their families. Our primary UPMC collaborators include the Office of Advanced Practice Providers, the Donald D. Wolff, Jr. Center for Quality, Safety, and Innovation, and the UPMC/Pitt Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences.

Interprofessional Practice

The Center promotes research across the University of Pittsburgh that seeks to understand the complexities of implementing new models of interprofessional care and their effects on cost, quality and health outcomes. The University of Pittsburgh/UPMC partnership is a designated Nexus Innovations Incubator Site affiliated with the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education (initiated in 2012). As such, we are evaluating the interface, or nexus, between practice and education in selected innovative environments that span the care continuum, including the role of advanced practice providers in e-visits for primary care, the use of rehabilitation specialists in a trauma clinic, and the use of health information technology to augment the use of interprofessional teams in geriatric inpatient care. Please see the Projects section of our website for more information on the research underway in the Center. The Center was also the first US host of the leading international conference on interpofessional practice and education, All Together Better Health VII, which was held in Pittsburgh June 6-8, 2014. 

Interprofessional Education

Since 2007, strategic leadership for the advancement of interprofessional education (IPE) across Pitt's Schools of the Health Sciences has been provided by the Pitt Working Group on Interprofessional Education (WGOIPE). The Working Group is a collaborative effort composed of academic leaders from each of the six Health Sciences Schools, the School of Scoail Work, the Health Sciences Library System, and the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences.

The University of Pittsburgh has implemented an array of interprofessional learning and faculty development opportunities across the schools of health sciences, which demonstrate the commitment of Pitt’s leadership to interprofessional education. Examples of  interprofessional initiatives at the pre-licensure level include:

  • Interprofessional Health Care Teams Course. Offered annually since 2007, this month-long clinical education course focused on collaborative card in outpatient and inpatient settings for patients with end stage renal disease has engaged students form our nursing, pharmacy, medicine, social work, and physician assistant programs.
  • Interprofessional Forum. Initiated in 2008, this annual program brings together over 650 first-year students from across the health sciences to introduce interprofessional collaboration as a contemporary standard of quality health care.
  • Classroom-based standardized colleague interactions. We Need to Talk: Crucial Interprofessional Communications as a project funded by the University Provost's Office to design and implement standardized colleague scenarios with pharmacy and nursing students to teach interprofessional communications skills and conflict resolution.
  • Interprofessional Modeling and Caring for the Elderly. Funded by a grants from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, this educational initiative connects students from medicine, pharmacy, and advanced practice nursing and collaborative team based care in the nursing home.
  • Collaboration in the Dental Medicine Clinics. Since 2012, pharmacy students work alongside dental medicine students to refine patient communication, intake and pharmaceutical care plan development skills.
  • Managing Dental Emergencies through Collaborative Care. In this two week clinical course nursing students and dental medicine students collaborate in an outpatient dental emergency clinic to assess oral and systemic health needs.

In conjunction with the Pitt Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education, the health sciences schools have implemented two faculty development programs focused on evidence-based teaching and interprofessional education.

  • The Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning in the Health Sciences: Principles for Teaching and Learning in the Classroom provided learning opportunities in evidence-based teaching and learning and established peer-based support focused on the principles of learning and their application to health professions education.
  • The Learning and Teaching Together to Advance Evidence-Based Clinical Education program in 2014 was the recipient of the Pitt Provost’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence grant.
  • The Joint Meeting of the Working Group on Interprofessional Education and Health Sciences Curriculum Leaders hosted in 2012 brought together curriculum leaders from across the health sciences schools at a meeting to discuss opportunities to advance interprofessional learning across the health sciences programs and how best to integrate the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice.

Pitt has also offers several extracurricular activities for students seeking interprofessional experiences, including:

  • The CLARION Interprofessional Case Competition, which ran from 2009-2011. 
  • The IHI Open School Chapter, which has been in place since 2011. 
  • Project CHANCE, a grant-funded program for interprofessional care experience at the local Birmingham free clinic.