August 16, 2012 - No More Silos: Breaking Down Barriers Through Interprofessional Teamwork
At last year’s Schweitzer conference, Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation President George Thibault, MD spoke about shaping a more affordable, accessible, and reliable health care system through interprofessional educational interventions.
“We have strong evidence that health care delivered by
well-functioning teams leads to better outcomes, but we still educate
our health professionals in silos,” Thibault said.
Add this new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the evidence pile.
Third in a series of follow-ups on the implementation of the IOM’s
landmark Future of Nursing Report, it highlights promising primary care
models in Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota in which nurses serve as
the hub of interprofessional, patient-centered care teams. The result?
Improved patient health outcomes, and proven or projected cost savings.
This brief is well worth a read for anyone who is interested in the
future of primary care—and it’s an affirmation of our leadership
development program’s emphasis on multidisciplinary collaboration.
Approximately 50 percent of Schweitzer Fellows
are medical students, with nursing, dental, social work, public health,
law, and other health and human service students making up the
remaining 50 percent. This intentional diversity of disciplines is a key
element of our strategy for developing leaders with the skills to
deliver care that addresses the underlying social factors that impact
By sharing their intensive Schweitzer experience with health-focused
students outside of their often-siloed degree programs, our Fellows have
the chance to develop multidisciplinary approaches to problems
affecting health while still undergoing their professional training.
They emerge from their Schweitzer experience with a fresh understanding
that health goes way beyond the clinical—and that that it’s going to
take respectful, creative collaboration across disciplines to come up
with comprehensive solutions.
“In many ways, the Schweitzer Fellowship is an excellent example of
interdisciplinary education,” says MGH Institute of Health Professions
School of Nursing student Sophie Forte, who provided breastfeeding
education and support to low-income women in Lynn, Massachusetts as a
2011-12 Boston Schweitzer Fellow.
“While all the Fellows are clearly dedicated to a life of service,
each brings his or her unique background, experience, and expertise to
the table,” Forte adds. “We [learned] that other disciplines can work
together and provide contributions that foster the work of others.
Suggestions made by other Fellows at monthly meetings were essential in
moving my project forward.”
Click here to read this story in full on ASF's official blog.
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