Saint Louis University Center for Interprofessional Education and Research

In the health care field, collaboration is key. Saint Louis University’s Center for Interprofessional Education and Research connects future health professionals to better serve patients and clients.

The Center for Interprofessional Education and Research (SLU-CIER) has become a leader in interprofessional education and collaborative practice research.  In line with SLU’s mission, the Center is at the forefront of innovative initiatives for educating today’s health care workforce for working in interprofessional settings and providing interprofessional, patient- and client-centered care.

An essential role of the health care providers of the future is providing patients with knowledge, skills and behaviors to help them maintain their wellness and minimize the complications of their medical condition. Interprofessional patient-centered care is viewed as a critical element in achieving optimal patient outcomes and is considered to be the model for practice in the future.

The mission of the SLU Center for Interprofessional Education and Research is to:

  • Prepare health professions graduates of Saint Louis University and health care providers for interprofessional patient-centered, collaborative practice;
  • Advance the practice of effective and efficient Interprofessional team-based care to improve individual patient and population health outcomes; and
  • Advance research and scholarly activity of Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice.

With that mission in mind, the program established five domains to guide the curriculum:

  • Interprofessional Practice: a collaborative, interdependent use of shared expertise directed toward a unified delivery of optimal patient care. This includes understanding the roles, responsibilities, and scope of practice of various health professions, and skills at collaborative decision making and team-based communication.
  • Integrated, Patient-centered Care: the development of attitudes and skills that support patient empowerment and inclusion in care planning while demonstrating sensitivity to autonomy, culture, language, literacy, socioeconomic conditions, and patient comfort. Additionally, the integration of evidence based practice, informatics, self-management support, and care coordination to provide the best patient care and health outcomes.
  • Wellness: The integration of evidence-based prevention guidelines and development of patient education skills enabling a system change from “sick-care” to wellness and prevention. Students across professions will demonstrate an understanding of an ecological model for determinants of health and program components that support community/population health.
  • Patient Safety and Quality Care: The ability to demonstrate personal and systems quality improvement processes and communication skills across professions that lead to reduced errors and adverse outcomes and improved quality of care.
  • Social Justice: the ability to recognize one’s responsibility to act for the good of others and apply knowledge and skills in helping the most vulnerable. This includes understanding and working to eliminate health disparities, and developing skills for advocacy, policy change, and community development.

History of the Center

In 2005, the president of Saint Louis University challenged the Doisy College of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing to work together to enhance the quality of existing programs and provide unique educational offerings to students.  Faculty from multiple programs collaborated to evaluate curriculum synergies, identify IPE and practice literature, and develop new IPE curriculum to meet program accreditation requirements.

In 2006, SLU began offering a new IPE curriculum with five courses integrated into nursing and health sciences freshmen-entry programs.  By 2008, the IPE program had expanded to include an Interprofessional Team Seminar course for students at the professional training level from seven professions: medicine, nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work and pharmacy.

In 2011, the Center for Interprofessional Education and Research was established to develop comprehensive IPE and collaborative practice across three tracks: freshmen-entry programs, post-baccalaureate programs, and clinical practice programs. Additionally, the Center works to improve the documentation of outcomes and facilitate research in interprofessional education and collaborative care.  In 2012, the Center launched an undergraduate minor in interprofessional practice available to students across the University.