Background: Recognizing the need to find new models for educating health professionals, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) initiated the Interdisciplinary Professional Education Collaborative in April 1994. The goal of the Collaborative is to improve health care by working from upstream, to address the health professions workforce changes demanded by the need to deliver better care at a lower cost. With support and advice from IHI and others, faculty leaders in health professions education from the disciplines of medicine, nursing, and health administration framed a vision of the future in which "health professions education has evolved into an integrated teaching/learning environment in which health professionals are working together across discipline boundaries, using the best knowledge for improvement to continuously improve health care". This article describes the first year of the three-year project.
Summary: The 1994-1995 pilot year of the Collaborative involved more than 60 learners and 50 faculty members, across multiple disciplines. At each of the four sites, education was integrated with efforts to improve health care delivery. Education-oriented outcomes include assessment of student learning (applied knowledge and skills) and program evaluation (student and faculty feedback on the effect of the project on community-based experiential learning sites). Even at this early stage, there is evidence of change in participating institutions. The Collaborative in now planning how to increase the number of students and faculty involved in such a way that a deeper understanding of how to prepare new health professionals to improve health care may be determined.