In October 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) selected the University of Minnesota to create the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education (National Center) to “advance a national healthcare workforce trained to work in patient-centered, team-based settings” (Chen et al., 20131; HRSA, 20122 ). HRSA and other funders3 expect the National Center to serve as a resource for unbiased, expert guidance on issues related to interprofessional practice and education (IPE) for the US.
In this Special Issue, we discuss the operationalization of the National Center, including the funders’ expectations, the evolution of the Nexus vision bringing practice and education together simultaneously for improved outcomes, and key milestones. We synthesize a decade of work, through deep engagement within and beyond the US, as exemplified by the 13 papers from our partners in the issue. A new approach, knowledge-based IPE leadership, has emerged. We propose incorporating emerging data science and developmental evaluation methods into a new model that centers meaningful impact simultaneously on learning and health outcomes. As a result, we gained comfort in asking uncomfortable questions about the many challenges in our healthcare and education system, and where higher education, the health workforce, and especially interprofessional practice and education needs to head.
This issue was conceived by Scott Reeves, before his untimely death in 2018. The issue would not have been possible without the National Center’s many collaborators and contributors who have worked with us since 2012, and would not have come to fruition without the encouragement and support of our mentor, Madeline Schmitt. Our goal for this Special Issue is that our lessons learned will inspire new thinking and energy that addresses today's challenges and provides new opportunities to drive health and learning outcomes that matter.
1 Chen, F. M., Williams, S. D., & Gardner, D. B. (2013). The case for a national center for interprofessional practice and education. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 27(5), 356–`357. https://doi.org/10.3109/ 13561820.2013.786691
2 Health Resources and Services Administration. (2012). New coordinating center will promote interprofessional education and collaborative practice in health care. (Press release). US Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.hrsa.gov/about/news/press-releases /2012-09-14-interprofessional.html
3 The National Center was founded with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and University of Minnesota. In 2016, the John A Hartford Foundation joined the three foundations to fund the National Center’s Accelerating Interprofessional Community-based Education and Practice Initiative.