Preparing Students for Collaborative Practice: An Overview of the 2012 Jefferson Health Mentors Program

Publication ID Published Volume
9312 January 17, 2013 9


The first version of this curriculum, consisting of 8 modules, was implemented in 2007 and subsequently published on MedEdPORTAL in 2009. Now, five years later, HMP has undergone substantial curricular revisions to better address IPE competencies, overarching program goals, module-specific objectives and student, mentor and faculty feedback. The revised and updated HMP curriculum now consists of four key modules, plus orientation sessions at the beginning of each year. These modules include: 1) obtaining a comprehensive life and health history, 2) preparing an interprofessional wellness plan, 3) assessing patient safety in the home, and 4) healthy behavior and self-management support. Concepts of teamwork and professionalism are interwoven throughout the two-year curriculum. A multifaceted educational design was used in the development of each of the four new team-based modules, and each module concludes with a faculty-facilitated interprofessional small group session. Assignments evaluate achievement of module-specific and program objectives. Individual reflection papers assess what students’ value and personally learn from their participation. Mid year self- and peer-evaluations assist in measuring professionalism and year end surveys are administered to assess student attitudes toward teamwork, collaborative care and understanding of discipline-specific roles.

Course evaluation data has been increasingly positive over the last five years with each round of quality improvement. With the implementation of the updated and revised curriculum this academic year, the HMP has received its highest rated student course evaluations, with 78% – 93% of students from all six professions agreeing that each IPE module helped in their achievement of program goals. Additional qualitative analysis of student reflection essays has demonstrated an even more marked effect of the program on students appreciation for the challenges and benefits of team-based, person-centered care. One observed benefit of this program is the shift in student values regarding the provision of health care. In the written reflections, faculty have noted a culture change from wanting to “fix” a patient’s chronic condition to attempting to better understand the context of the person’s life experiences before and after diagnosis of one or more chronic conditions. Students describe adopting a new perspective of caring for patients with chronic conditions, shifting their focus from management of acute exacerbations to prevention of disease and health promotion and focusing on patients’ ability and strengths, rather than his/her disabilities or participation restrictions.

Another major benefit of the HMP is the collaboration that has naturally developed within interprofessional student teams. By bringing students from the various programs together to complete HMP visits and assignments, they establish relationships with peers and across disciplines that rarely occurred in previous years. Written reflections reveal emergent awareness of and respect for the scope, rigor and demands of their fellow team members’ training, practice, and expertise. A 2012 study on student attitudes toward health care teams demonstrated a significant improvement in attitudes comparing baseline to the end of the two year HMP scores.

After each semester, the content of student reflections, feedback, and evaluation of the HMP has provided a positive, unexpected education for the HMP faculty. Each new group of students has highlighted additional, new benefits related to this IPE endeavor. Finally, a noticeable shift in campus culture has resulted in students now expecting to work with peers from other professional programs, where three years ago most students might never even meet colleagues from other training programs on campus. Current first year students are surprised to learn that faculty attribute this shift in expectations directly to the HMP; they simply cannot believe the culture was ever different. Graduating students who have completed the HMP are including this experience in their resumes and personal statements as a highlight of their education.

An unexpected benefit observed at TJU has been collaboration among faculty from the four schools/college and six departments. Indeed, HMP faculty have adopted the principles of collaborative practice in their work, and role model the benefits of this behavior for students and other faculty. Frequently, interprofessional faculty working groups form and volunteer to complete requested tasks related to new IPE activities. These collaborations have led to increased faculty satisfaction and tremendous scholarly activity, with 39 peer reviewed presentations and 7 peer reviewed publications stemming directly from the HMP.


Collins L, Ankam N, Antony R, et al. Preparing students for collaborative practice: an overview of the 2012 Jefferson health mentors program. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2013;9:9312.

Educational Objectives

  1. To understand and value the roles and contributions of various members of the interprofessional healthcare team.
  2. To understand the perspective of the patient and value patient-centered care.
  3. To appreciate how a person’s health conditions and impairments interact with personal and environmental factors.


  • Collaborative Practice, Teamwork, Wellness, Self-Management Support, Chronic Disease, Interprofessional Education Collaboration (IPEC)

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ISSN 2374-8265