The University of Montana and Montana State University have joined together to create a robust, interdisciplinary health sciences education and practice that will benefit patients, students and the health care industry across Montana and the nation.
Called the Montana University System Institute for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (MUS IPE Institute), the new program combines faculty programming and curriculum at both UM and MSU.
Specific partners include UM’s College of Health and MSU’s WWAMI Medical Educational Program; the MSU College of Nursing; the Washington, Idaho, Montana and Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine; the Montana Medical Laboratory Scientist Professional Program; the Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics; and counseling graduate programs in MSU’s Department of Health and Human Development.
The Montana University System Board of Regents approved the new program in May. The new institute will serve as a resource and training center for MUS health profession students, faculty and health care sites and serve as a conduit between statewide health care sites and MUS health care programs.
Reed Humphrey, dean of UM’s College of Health, said the new institute reflects the skills needed in modern health care and is a move away from single-discipline training in an equally fragmented health care system.
“To truly treat a patient holistically, health care requires more than one discipline – medicine, nursing, social work, physical therapy and more – to address patient health issues,” Humphrey said. “The collaborative skills are necessary for today’s health care workforce.” Humphrey added that separately educating health students creates barriers to campus collaboration and leaves students ill-prepared for the demands of team-based collaborative health care. All of these issues negatively impact patients.
“Medicine is so complicated now that a single person can’t do it,” said Kathy Jutila, interim director of the Montana State University Division of Health Sciences. “You require a whole team of professionals. The benefit of the IPE Institute is to start training multiple disciplines that deliver health care – such as medicine, dentistry, nursing, physical therapy and pharmacy – and to start training them as students so they can learn their strengths as a team to efficiently deliver rural health care.”
To counter these challenges, the MUS IPE Institute will sustain and expand current efforts to enhance interprofessional education in the classroom and clinical environment, while creating better infrastructure to support health care educators and rachitic across the state.
“The MUS IPE Institute will build on professional expertise to encourage teamwork, shared values and common understanding,” said Kate Chapin, interim co-director of the Institute. “By combining resources our students will be prepared to provide high-quality patient care.”
Humphrey said the launch of the MUS IPE Institute mirrors the MUS goal of interprofessional and collaborative practice. “These programs will create something special for health care in Montana,” he said.