UK HealthCare

UK Receives Grant to Help Develop Online Training Program for Future Health Care Professionals

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2012) − Together with a consortium of four other southeastern universities, the University of Kentucky has received a grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to develop an online training program in multispecialty teamwork for future health care professionals.

This three-year collaborative project, which will begin in July, will result in the development of eight case-based, interactive e-Learning modules to be used by more than 5,000 medical, nursing, pharmacy, and other health professions students during their clinical training.

Known as interprofessional education, this type of multispecialty teamwork training is crucial for future healthcare professionals, who must increasingly collaborate with providers from a wide variety of specialties and disciplines in their practices. The e-Learning modules will focus on providing students with skills and practical experience with protecting patient safety, transitioning patients’ care from one provider to another, and working in interprofessional teams.

"Preparing our graduates to work together effectively to advance the quality of care for individuals and communities is a priority that our health professions colleges have joined together to advance," said Andrea Pfifle, director of the UK Center for Interprofessional Healthcare Education. "This funding will enable the University of Kentucky to move forward to accomplish this goal more quickly and reach many more students than we could have ever hoped to do without it.  We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with the Josiah Macy Junior Foundation and the other universities in the SEC-IPE to do that."

The clinical learning environment is an ideal place for interprofessional education to occur. However, interprofessional education during clinical training presents numerous logistical challenges, especially for off-site students. E-Learning can help address those challenges, particularly if used in combination with other forms of instruction. Each of the eight modules will be able to stand alone or become part of one of two types of curricula, which will consist of four e-Learning modules plus instructor-led discussion, opportunities for application of newly acquired skills in the clinical setting, and participation in collaborative group projects.

“The University of Kentucky is proud to be a national leader in interprofessional education,” said Timothy Tracy, Dean of the UK College of Pharmacy and interim UK Provost. “We believe it is incumbent on us to provide our students with the types of educational experiences that will prepare them for real-life work situations. Solving our most pressing health problems requires professionals from different health disciplines working together in a collaborative setting. Rather than having our graduates figure that out once they reach the workplace, we believe it is best to teach them how to solve problems in a collaborative environment while they are on campus.”

Five southeastern U.S. universities have joined together to form the Southeast Consortium for Interprofessional Education (SEC-IPE) to support this project and other interprofessional education efforts. In addition to UK, they include the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC); the University of Florida, University of Mississippi; and Vanderbilt University. As they implement these modules in their respective healthcare professional training programs, the partner institutions of the SEC-IPE will evaluate the success of the curriculum in achieving interprofessional learning goals using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative metrics. The SEC-IPE will then make the modules available for other institutions to implement in healthcare professional training programs nationwide.

Since 1930, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has worked to improve health care in the United States. Founded by Kate Macy Ladd in memory of her father, prominent philanthropist Josiah Macy Jr., the Foundation supports projects that broaden and improve health professional education. It is now the only national foundation solely dedicated to this mission.

Media Contact: Ann Blackford, or (859) 323-6442