Largest-Ever International Conference on Interprofessional Health Education in Tucson, Nov. 19-21

More than 750 government leaders, policy makers, health-care professionals, educators and students will attend ‘Collaborating Across Borders III,’ organized and sponsored by the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center and the statewide Arizona Telemedicine Program
TUCSON, Ariz. – The largest-ever international conference on interprofessional health education, “Collaborating Across Borders III,An American-Canadian Dialogue on Interprofessional Health Education & Practice,will be held Nov. 19-21,at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Rd., Tucson. More than 750 national and international government leaders, policy makers, health-care professionals, educators and students will attend.
 
CAB III is the third biennial Canada-United States joint conference focusing on issues in interprofessional health education and practice. This U.S.-based conference will be devoted to interprofessional education (IPE), defined as interactive learning among students or practitioners from two or more health professions to improve their ability to work together and build mutual respect and trust around shared goals for health care. More than 400 program proposals have been submitted for the conference.
 
CAB III is organized and sponsored by the University of Arizona’s nationallynoted Arizona Health Sciences Center (AHSC) and statewide Arizona Telemedicine Program. AHSC includes the UA Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy; the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and The University of Arizona Health Network. In response to a series of reports issued by the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2008, AHSC instituted an interprofessional education program in 2005 to improve collaboration among health-care professionals with the intent to improve quality of patient care.
 
Better teamwork has been identified nationally and internationally in health-care reform agendas as a means to provide safer, higher-quality care in all settings. “The health care we want to provide for the people we serve – safe, high-quality, accessible, person-centered – must be a team effort,” notes Carol A. Aschenbrener, MD, executive vice president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, who has participated in the previous two CAB conferences. “No single health profession can achieve this goal alone.”
 
Conference co-chair Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, professor of pathology at the UA College of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix campuses), professor of public policy with the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health and founding director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program, has been leading the Arizona effort to host the conference along with a large local interprofessional team. Arizona also is providing national expertise for one of the conference’s “trailblazing” themes: simulation and other technologies for IPE learning. A core part of the conference program will be demonstrations of technological innovation and its application in IPE by the UA and its partners.
 
Conference organizers also have identified the development and assessment of competencies as one of the “frontiers” in IPE that need to be explored. On May 10, the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) released the expert panel report, “Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice,” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to offer national guidance on content and strategies for institutional development of IPE (www.aacn.nche.edu/education/pdf/IPECReport.pdf).
 
Key national sponsors have provided significant funding support. IPEC – a group of health professions organizations that include U.S. leaders in academic dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health – has worked since early 2009 to accelerate progress in the development of sustainable interprofessional education. Geraldine (Polly) Bednash, PhD, RN, FAAN, executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), notes that CAB III “provides a forum for creating productive partnerships to encourage interprofessional collaboration as a catalyst for advancing high-quality education and team-based care across settings.” In providing support from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), President Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, says “CAB III gives us the opportunity to contribute and learn from others engaged in the important work of interprofessional education and practice.”
 
Two of the conference themes include developing interprofessional collaboration-ready teachers and practitioners and developing infrastructure to support an IPE culture, both grassroots and leadership approaches. Lucinda Maine, PhD, RPh, executive vice president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, says that “the renewed national commitment to IPE and team-based care will bear fruit only if sustainable effort is made in faculty and leadership development, with accompanying cultural change in our institutions and organizations. Collaborating Across Borders III is designed with these fundamentals in mind, and the IPEC organizations, individually and together, are pleased to support the conference.”
 
CAB conferences include professions not traditionally thought of as part of the health-care team but are important partners in a redesigned vision of health and health care: dentists and public health professionals. IPEC member Richard W. Valachovic, DMD, MPH, executive director of the American Dental Education Association, a previous CAB sponsor, notes that “The first two CAB meetings were highly successful in integrating dental education more broadly into health professions education. The American Dental Education Association looks forward to this third meeting with our colleagues in health professions education.” IPEC member Harrison C. Spencer, MD, MPH CPH, president and CEO of the Association for Schools of Public Health, spoke to the rationale for ASPH’s conference support: “Achieving a better population-oriented and patient-centered health system requires interprofessional learning and the integration of public health principles into the education of health professions students.”
 
CAB III also has garnered major support from the California-based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (www.moore.org), funders of the Gordon and Betty Moore School of Nursing, unique for its core emphasis on interprofessional learning, and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, (www.josiahmacyfoundation.org), a leader in supporting U.S. interprofessional education projects. The Macy grant will help fund the production of CAB III conference highlights for post-conference distribution.
 
For more information about CAB III, visit the website www.cabarizona2011.org