The faculties of Medicine, Health Sciences and Nursing at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon, are continuing their collaboration to improve the education of health professionals, following the Lancet Commission report on “Educating Health Professionals for the 21st Century” in November 2010. Especially selected faculty from each of the three schools met in a workshop from 13-15 March 2012 to pursue reform ideas on interprofessional education, one of the report’s main recommendations that was endorsed as a priority educational reform for Lebanon at their national launch of the report’s findings on 18 May 2011.
The workshop took place at UAB’s Hariri School of Nursing and was facilitated by a consultant, Dr. Elizabeth Tanner, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Fifteen faculty members attended, five from each of the three schools. The consultant first met with each group of faculty separately to learn about their undergraduate and graduate education programs. The next day featured a plenary session in the morning, followed by group work in the afternoon, which continued the following day.
During the group work, faculty members were split into three groups, each with representation from each faculty. The groups worked on various exercises aimed at developing ideas for Interprofessional learning experiences for medicine, nursing and public health students at AUB. There was a high level of collaboration and interest as they learned about each other in undertaking and presenting group activities.
Many ideas emerged on next steps, including a task force on curriculum to explore joint courses for students. Another idea is to introduce interprofessional education (IPE) to a wider community through organizing an IPE day at AUB. A Coordinating Committee has been selected to organize follow-up. It consists of Dr. Imad Bou Akl from the Faculty of Medicine (FM), Dr. Rima Afifi from the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), and Dr. Nuhad Dumit from the School of Nursing (HSON). They will be working with Dr. Kamal Badr, Associate Dean for Medical Education at FM, Dr. Huda Zurayk, Professor at FHS and one of the 20 global leaders who served on the Lancet Commission, and Dr. Huda Huijer, Director of HSON, as well as with other faculty who attended the workshop.
Their goal will be to join students in medicine, nursing and public health in common learning experiences that will prepare them for their working together on teams in practicing their professions in the future. This summer, for example, the Hariri School of Nursing, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Health Sciences are jointly offering a course on “Current Issues in Geriatrics and Gerontology: Interprofessional Approaches to Care of Older Adults and Families.” The course is open to students in medicine, nursing and public health.