Dentistry, Health Professions Unite to Provide Better
Malcolm Maurice, Health Sciences
WASHINGTON -- Six national health education associations
that stretch across a wide array of health care disciplines have united to
form the Inter-professional Educational Collaborative (IPEC), a new national
organization focused on providing better, more collaborative, patient-centered
The purpose of this partnership is to integrate and coordinate the education
and partnerships between nurses, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, public
health professionals, and other members of the patient health care team.
Leo Rouse, dean of Howard University's College of Dentistry and president
of the American Dental Education Association, serves as one of the representatives
on the new organization and helped develop the four focus areas of IPEC: Values
and ethics for inter-professional practice, roles and responsibilities for
collaborative practice, inter-professional communication, and inter-professional
teamwork and team-based care.
"Health care teams are critical to meeting the health care of the public," Rouse
"All providers of health care must learn together the value of functioning
as teams in all health delivery systems. Engagement of the oral health community,
as well as the broader health professions, is therefore essential."
Stephen C. Shannon, president of the American Association of Colleges of
Osteopathic Medicine, agrees that this new collaboration will greatly benefit
the health services profession as a whole by producing better students who
will then give better care to patients.
"Such care will help ensure the future health and well-being of the nation's
populace," said Shannon. "Inter-professional education is a critical
component of raising the competencies of aspiring physicians and other health
The founding members of IPEC include the American Association of Colleges
of Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Dental Education
Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Association
of Schools of Public Health.
The new IPEC organization will sponsor its first faculty development institute, "Building
Your Foundation for Inter-professional Education,"
in May. The program will enable faculty from various health professions to
meet with peers in collaborative and interactive learning sessions focused
on building strong programs for team-based learning.