Introduction: The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) was adopted in 2001 as a common language among health professionals to measure health and disability. The ICF allows health and wellness to be viewed on a continuum and mainstreams disability as an integral part of the human experience. The ICF shifts the focus of patient encounters from the biomedical model to the biopsychosocial model, enabling health care providers to gain a better understanding of the person. The ICF also provides an ideal language for interprofessional education (IPE) by permitting students from multiple backgrounds to communicate more effectively using a common set of terms and allowing them to appreciate how collaboration with others optimizes patient care. Methods: The ICF curricular resources included here serve as training modules for both faculty and students and can be used in any simulated or case-based IPE activity. These resources include a faculty development workshop, student reading material, a PowerPoint lecture to be presented to students and its accompanying lecture guide, case-based exercises for students, and examples of the application of the ICF in an existing IPE curriculum. Results: At our institution, this resource was integrated into our health mentors program. Students were surveyed at the end of each of the 2 years of the program. The overall 2012 response rate for first-year students was 74%; for second-year students, it was 67%. They rated the following statement on a 5-point Likert scale: “Applying the ICF framework to my health mentor’s condition(s) and/or impairment(s) helped me to better understand the impact of these conditions on his/her quality of life.” The percentage of students who chose strongly agree, agree, or neutral was 84% or greater for all first-year profession cohorts and 78% or greater for all second-year profession cohorts. Student participants came from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and couple and family therapy. Formal, qualitative analysis of 91 reflection papers by the 2011-2012 first-year students showed four common themes: “realization that some aspect of the health mentor’s life is different than initially expected,” “student identification that a positive attitude allows their health mentor to function despite disease,” “student identification of the health mentor as a source of inspiration,” and “realization that the health mentor’s health condition does not define their capabilities.” Discussion: Anecdotally, through faculty grading of both team and individual assignments, interprofessional teams of students participating in this curriculum have demonstrated a clearer understanding of the ICF; students have been able to identify elements of the ICF in the context of the health mentor’s life, use the ICF to understand barriers and facilitators to wellness, and apply the worldview of the ICF to the health mentor’s home environment, as well as being able to apply what they have learned about their health mentor to assist in the creation of patient-centered health and wellness goals to maintain and promote change.
- Define key International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) concepts, including health conditions, impairments, activity, and participation.
- Apply the structure, language, and concepts of the ICF in describing how people’s health conditions and impairments interact with their personal and environmental factors.
- Incorporate ICF concepts into team-based interviews and assignments as part of the longitudinal interprofessional education curriculum.
None to report.
This research was funded in part by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation in fulfillment of the AAMC/IPEC interprofessional education initiative.
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- Unpublished data from qualitative analysis of Health Mentors reflection papers: Panichelli A, Brown K, Krizman S, Ankam N, Jerpbak C, Collins L, Speakman E, Umlaud E, and Arenson C.
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