One year ago on July 18, we submitted our application to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to lead the National Center. How our lives have changed in the short period of time since Secretary Sebelius made the selection announcement last fall! The vision we shaped in to response to the funding opportunity is becoming a reality. We’ve wrestled with ideas about how to make our midsummer words come alive, to meet our charge to provide leadership, scholarship, evidence, coordination and national visibility to advance interprofessional practice and education as a viable and efficient health care delivery model.
Each week I connect with five to ten new people or organizations that represent a wide variety of interests, desires and expectations. All are searching for the same thing—better health as a result of better care with the assumption that interprofessional approaches are the best way to achieve it. Each is in a different place on this journey. They find themselves in chaos trying to make sense of it all, wanting me to help. Some are just getting started and want to know how to begin; others are saying just tell me what to do, and make it simple. They ask, how do I start a new office of IPE? Who should be involved? How do we pay for it? Is it just two professions at a clinical site teaching students together? Others are passionate about their agenda or program. Some, on the other hand, have been on the journey for a long time and are looking for like-minded colleagues and real evidence that they are making a difference.
At first I felt like I was in a constant tsunami, but I’m becoming accustomed to the new reality. It always feels like an awe-inspiring responsibility. At the National Center, we are asking questions about how we can best help and lead in a chaotic and uncertain environment. We created this picture to communicate what we are hearing in education, practice and at the intersection of these two complex systems. When I share this graphic with audiences, there is often laughter and usually a sigh of relief. We are in this together.
I often go back to the words we wrote last year in our grant application to reconnect with that first view of our vision and purpose.
“In the past two years, with the surge in interest in IPE as a result of the release of the historic IPEC competencies, there has been an explosion of activities, education, training, etc. This impressive portfolio of opportunities will advance the field and should be encouraged and leveraged. The coordinating center for interprofessional education and collaborative practice will need to work with partners to get the work done, while setting the vision for interprofessional education and collaborative practice (CC-IPECP) with them in a collaborative and non-competitive manner. This partnership and definition of roles and responsibilities will be essential. Therefore, strategies will need to be deployed that map out what will be handled centrally by the CC-IPECP and what will best be distributed to maximize resources, retaining the important unbiased role.”
Now when we explain this concept, people understand that we are striving to take a “horizontal approach” to supporting and connecting the dedicated people already advancing our vision of the Nexus across the country. Last year, we laid out the pathway (below) we planned to take to get where we want (and need) to go—better care, added value and healthier communities.
Our first dedicated staff came on board in late spring, and new members with new ideas have since joined our team. We are working hard to make the words in our proposal come alive and become a reality. We will launch our new interactive website, a platform to convene around our common goals, over the next several weeks. We need you to help fulfill our midsummer night’s dream by shaping this new online community. Be sure to watch your email for an announcement about the website and I encourage you to follow us on Twitter (@nexusipe) and join our new LinkedIn Group for the latest information about where we’re headed.