Dean, two assistant deans, emphasis on research, documenting success and disruption on the way

Interprofessionalism is at the heart of the MGH Institute mission and has long been a differentiator of the Institute within higher education. A commitment to interprofessional collaborative practice is also a distinctive feature of the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Institute’s founder, underpinning its ability to deliver world-class care. Yet you will not see the word “interprofessional” in the names of any IHP centers or departments. That’s about to change.
The IHP Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice has just been launched, offering more specificity and identity for what the IHP specializes in, while creating a new mechanism for documenting and sharing successes. 

“It puts a flag up that says every person that trains at the IHP - regardless of discipline or program – is going to learn how to practice as part of an interprofessional team to improve health outcomes and provide safe and equitable, person-centered care,” said Reamer Bushardt, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Specifically, every IHP graduate has gained essential knowledge, skills, and abilities for team-based practice, including in professionalism, person-centered care, communication, decision making, systems-based practice, and leadership. We do not believe any health professional trainee should come through the IHP and leave without being prepared to practice and lead as part of a high performing clinical team.”

The Center will comprise the Dr. Charles A. and Ann Sanders IMPACT Practice Center (IPC), interprofessional education curricula including simulation-based education, scholarship and research programs, and service activities. It will also provide innovative curriculum design and serve as an incubator for programs that advance health professions training and team-based care. 

The new Center will bring cohesion, synergy, and shared identity to programs that have previously been siloed. The IMPACT curriculum, Community IMPACT Day, IPC Grand Rounds, Parkinson’s wellness programming, the simulated participant program, and simulation are just some of the services that will be brought under one vision, one mission, one team. 

“Our vision is to see that team working, collaborating, designing, and building impactful programs together,” said Bushardt. “I think the quality of their work and level of innovation will increase as we bring this team together because each member brings diverse perspectives and unique expertise and experiences. I want everybody around the table offering their best.”

After developing, designing, and implementing, Bushardt expects Center leaders to rigorously evaluate their programs, then disseminate the results. He expects the IHP to be a disruptive innovator in health professions education, a significant change from present practice. 

“We need to get our educational and practice models out there and be brave enough to share them, share our curricula, and begin to disrupt the way other institutions train health professionals,” said Bushardt. “If we're going to increase our impact, we are going to have to provide tools, resources, and curricular models that make it easy for others to adopt and adapt our approach. We’re doing something well that we know makes a positive difference in how our graduates deliver care, so we should share it.”

Center Leadership and Vision 

The Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice will be led by two familiar faces: Midge Hobbs and Rachel Pittmann, both of whom will take on permanent roles after serving in interim leadership roles following the January retirement of Mary Knab, Associate Provost for Interprofessional Education and Practice. Hobbs is now the Assistant Dean for Interprofessional Education, while Pittmann is the Assistant Dean for Interprofessional Practice. 

“For every student coming through the Institute, I want to make sure interprofessional education is always front and center, that it remains an important piece of their education,” said Hobbs, Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy program and a Clinical Faculty Coordinator for the Interprofessional Dedicated Education units at MGH. “I’m also very focused on enhancing the dissemination of what we do, so that the rest of the world knows about us as well. We've led the way in so many spaces for interprofessional education, so I want to make sure that the IHP gets the recognition for its groundbreaking work.”

Hobbs says she wants to continue to align the work in interprofessional education with the IHP’s focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Meanwhile, Pittmann hopes more community members will learn about what the Center does while building better connections within the MGB system. 

“I'm really excited to continue to move our mission forward,” said Pittmann, Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders and former Coordinator of the Aphasia Center in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “I am focused on building and expanding our current portfolio of interprofessional learning activities and also disseminating that work externally so that our work can be shared more broadly. That way, we can be seen more on the map for the amazing things that we do.”

Pittmann is excited that there is finally an organizational home to house the multiple interprofessional educational programs and curricula that already exist on campus. 

“The Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice will be a key part of IHP students’ clinical education from conceptualizing and learning in class what it will be like to be a healthcare professional on an interprofessional team, to simulating the experiences and then getting the real-life experience and practice of patient-centered interprofessional care at the Sanders IPC.” 

Both say there's tremendous interprofessional collaboration that occurs behind the scenes to make interprofessional education and practice successful for students, faculty, and clients in the IPC and that the following are key to the success: Yolanda Mendez Rainey, Operations Manager; Angela Cruz, IMPACT Practice Center Program Manager; Rebecca Inzana, Lead Clinical Faculty Coordinator for the IPDEU; Tony Williams, Simulated Participant Program Manager; Rina Lara, Simulated Participant Program Support; and Aubrey Griffin, Simulated Lab Assistant. 

Pittmann and Hobbs will work with the Center’s new dean, who will come from the ranks of senior IHP faculty. Bushardt recently made a call for applications for the Center’s inaugural dean to the IHP community, where there is extensive experience and expertise in interprofessional education and collaborative practice. 

“We have many faculty who have made interprofessionalism a major part of their life’s work, and I hope some will be excited about the opportunity to step into this new leadership role. I am looking for a dean with a track record of clinical and teaching excellence as well as scholarship in this field,” said Bushardt, who adds familiarity with the IHP and health system community is a significant bonus. “I just don't believe if we look outside, we're going to find more skill, more passion for this work than if we looked internally.”

For this provost, who has been at the IHP for almost a year, a Center name that needs no interpretation is key. 

“The IHP community has been doing work that is ahead of the curve for a long while,” said Bushardt. “But we haven't been sharing that story by disseminating our models and educational research, and it is time to highlight our successes and what we are learning about interprofessional education within higher education circles. And we can do more to demonstrate the impact of that training to the practice environment, including within the world-class Mass General Brigham health system where so many of our graduates serve.” 

Faculty interested in being considered for the Dean of Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice should submit a cover letter and CV to the Office of the Provost at provost [at] by June 30, 2023.

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