About Interprofessional Education and Practice

In the Waldron College of Health and Human Services at Radford University, we prepare our students for the challenges that lie ahead in the delivery of healthcare and human services across the lifespan. To educate our students to serve as effective professionals in the future, we are dedicated to providing interprofessional learning experiences, opportunities for discovery and clinical expertise for all of our students.

With a primary goal of providing interprofessional educational and curricular programs, simulated and clinical opportunities, and resources to the faculty, staff, and students of Radford University, the CIPEP recognizes that learning how to practice interprofessional care requires undergrad, graduate, and post-graduate education to be fully integrated with professional development, community engagement and research, scholarship and innovation. The CIPEP focuses on the continuum of learning, encompassing undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education, emphasizing the interface between education and practice, simultaneously developing the interprofessional capacity of learners and catalyzing change in the practice environment.

What are the differences between multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and interprofessional teamwork?

Multidisciplinary teamwork refers to independent work and decision making by members of multiple disciplines, as is the case when professionals work side-by-side to solve a problem.

  • In multidisciplinary work individuals in different disciplines work independently or sequentially, each from his/her own disciplinary perspective, to address a particular topic or problem.

Interdisciplinary teamwork is an approach that refers to the combining of two or more disciplines, professions, or departments, in which individuals are enmeshed together in practice, education, and/or research.

  • The interdisciplinary process expands on the multidisciplinary team process through collaborative communication rather than shared communication. In this model, team members are involved in problem solving beyond the confines of their discipline.
  • Interdisciplinary endeavors assume a certain risk as all team members are expected to give and take (i.e. collaborate) in the relationship.

Transdisciplinary teamwork involves multiple disciplines sharing together their knowledge and skills across traditional disciplinary boundaries in accomplishing tasks or goals.

  • Transdisciplinary efforts expand on multidisciplinary efforts. In multidisciplinary work, the participants remain anchored in their respective disciplinary perspectives and stop short of achieving the novel and integrative conceptual models that are the hallmark of transdisciplinary work.
  • Transdisciplinary efforts reflect a process by which individuals work together to develop a shared conceptual framework that integrates and extends discipline specific theories, concepts, and methods to address a common problem.
    Interprofessional teamwork involves professionals across the healthcare and/or human services arena that share a team identity and work together closely in an integrated and interdependent manner to solve complex care problems and deliver services.  

What is Interprofessional Education?

Interprofessional Education Defined

“Interprofessional education occurs when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”
-World Health Organization, 2010

Why do we need to facilitate Interprofessional Education?

  • Teamwork in health care is often referred to as Interprofessional Practice. Interprofessional practice results in the collaborative, comprehensive care that our clients/patients value and expect.
  • The goal of interprofessional education is to prepare health professional students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for collaborative interprofessional practice.
  • The hallmark of interprofessional education is the type of cognitive and behavioral change that occurs when participants understand the core principles and concepts of each contributing discipline and are familiar with the basic language and mindsets of the various disciplines. Prior to participating in interprofessional education, students must have basic knowledge and skills related to their own profession.

1 These definitions are based on Clark, P.G. (1993), Journal of Interprofessional Care, 7(3), p. 219-220.

How does Waldron College link Interprofessional Education to Interprofessional Practice?

How Waldron is linking Interprofessional Educaiton to Interprofessional Practice

Today, a very real and substantial gap exists between health and human services education and health care delivery in the United States. One of the goals of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services is to bridge this gap by creating a deeply connected, integrated learning environment for our students to connect their education to the care they will provide as future professionals, particularly as it relates to engagement in interprofessional practice. One of the primary initiatives of Waldron College is, therefore, to foster the development of innovative educational and practice models of team-based, collaborative care by both our faculty and our students to ensure best practices in the health and human services arenas.

As such, we offer trainings and educational opportunities, provide innovative teaching models, and engage in evidence-based practices to help support emerging priorities in healthcare and human services for our faculty, students, and community partners.