Introducing medical students to the interdisciplinary health care team: piloting a case-based approach

J Allied Health. Summer 2010;39(2):76-81.


Medicine in the 21st century requires expanded multidisciplinary problem-solving in order to deliver cost-effective, quality health care, yet many medical schools still educate their students in relative isolation with little interaction or understanding of other health care professionals. To begin to address this issue, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Health Related Professions and School of Nursing were invited by the New Jersey Medical School to introduce medical students at the New Jersey Medical School to a cross-section of health professions they are likely to encounter. These health professions included medical imaging, dietetics-nutrition, laboratory technology, nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant, respiratory therapy and social work. During a 60-min educational session, a simulated case-based approach heightened medical school students' awareness of the function and value of interdisciplinary collaboration. Faculty from each of the eight disciplines gave a brief summary of their profession, including their scope-of-practice and academic requirements. At the end of the session, participants were given a brief 12-item survey to evaluate the experience. Though this was only a small, explorative project, survey results suggested that participants increased their understanding of other health professions, including when to refer to and collaborate with these professions. Feedback from this pilot project may be used to optimize future initiatives of this type.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Students, Medical