Interdisciplinary education as a facet of health care policy: the impact of attitudinal research

J Allied Health. 1983 Nov;12(4):280-6.


The past decade has seen a move toward a conscious interdisciplinary practice in health care delivery. Spurred on by intractable issues of fragmentation of services and lack of comprehensiveness, the proliferation of team and other kinds of integrated models have been reported in the literature but seldom conceptualized for their potential impact on service. Moreover, the literature generally lacks an empirical base and can be characterized as ideological. Educational institutions have remained largely untouched structurally in regard to providing interdisciplinary models of education, and issues such as the professional "hierarchies" in health and "turf" are seen as barriers to institutional response. This article describes a program of interdisciplinary education at one university, specifically in the context of potential impact on educational policies. The interdisciplinary health education program began as an informal, voluntary arrangement among four health-related professional schools and ultimately involved six schools. Research on cognitive and attitudinal learning of participating students was undertaken, supporting the educational rationale for conjoint, problem-focused learning. The article traces the history of the program's impact on education policies and points to the need for a stronger empirical base. Innovative education experiences, constructed from the earlier research undertaken, are described.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Curriculum
  • Health Occupations / education*
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Pennsylvania