Defining Your Nexus: Faculty

Defining Your Nexus Defining Your Nexus: Faculty

Susan M. Meyer, PhD

Co-Director, Pitt Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education Associate Dean for Education and Professor, University of Pittsburgh Pharmacy and Therapeutics Chair – Nexus Learning Systems Advisory Committee, National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education

People have called me a “teacher of teachers”… While preparing to become a pharmacist, I was fortunate to have experiences as a teacher, first as a TA in chemistry classes and then pharmaceutics, sterile products compounding, and other courses. A mentor suggested graduate school and a career in academic pharmacy. My program of study leading to my MS and PhD degrees led me through courses in educational theory, instructional design, and measurement of learning. I did pursue a career in academic pharmacy, but in an unexpected way. After three years as an assistant professor at Rutgers University, I joined the staff of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Across the 1990s and into the mid-2000s, I interacted with pharmacy faculty from across the US, designing programs and tools to support the transformation of pharmacy education in response to the changing role of the pharmacist in practice. It is in the early 1990s when I first crossed paths with Barbara Brandt. She was one of the individuals with a unique background and skillset that complemented mine. I engaged her and others to work with me to deliver faculty development programs in the basics of instructional design and curricular development. We also collaborated on the early AACP Institutes, designed to facilitate change by working with institution-specific teams on tools and strategies for “back-home” implementation. The institute model lives on in Nexus 101. My engagement in interprofessional education began with my appointment to the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force, convened by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. After working with individuals drawn from across seven health professions education association, all focused the health goals of clinical prevention and population health, I was hooked. I represented pharmacy in multiple national interprofessional initiatives, including the IPEC expert panel that authored the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. Looking for an academic administration opportunity, along with “on-the-ground” interprofessional learning development, I moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. For over 10 years now, I have kept a home in pharmacy as associate dean for education, led university-wide strategic advancement of interprofessional education, and, in partnership with our primary practice partner through the Pitt Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, explored practice transformation through learning initiatives. Pitt engaged with the National Center as one of the original Nexus Innovation Network sites and has a team working on a project funded through the National Center’s Accelerating Interprofessional Community-Based Education and Practice Program. I was excited to be invited by Barbara to chair the National Center’s Nexus Learning System Advisory Committee and to be engaged in the development of programs and tools to stimulate and facilitate the creation of a future of team-enabled care.


Carla J. Dieter, EdD, RN

Project Coordinator – Accelerating Interprofessional Community-Based Education and Practice Program, National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education Professor Emeritus – Department of Nursing School of Health Sciences

My nursing career started in the aftermath of a massive tornado that hit Omaha, Nebraska in 1975, and in many ways, my career has been a whirlwind ever since taking many twists and turns and leading me in new directions. As many new RNs at that time, I started my clinical career in a hospital when the model of giving care was team-nursing. Of course, it was not the team-based care we are talking about today. After moving to a small rural town with my husband, I experienced a new kind of team care that is so critical in a rural practice even today. Rural healthcare workers learn quickly to work together out of necessity because of limited resources. In that rural hospital, I was the ER nurse, the OB nurse, the cardiac care nurse, and everything in between all while having responsibility to set up my own traction and give respiratory care treatments. Since those early days, I expanded my education with a Master’s in Nursing and two post-master’s degrees while teaching undergraduate nursing. I also became a Family Nurse Practitioner and completed an educational doctorate in adult and higher education. Throughout my career as a nurse, and educator, and an educational administrator, I saw first-hand the need for team-based collaboration. I was fortunate enough to be able to work with leaders in healthcare and education in South Dakota to formulate the South Dakota Interprofessional Practice and Education Collaborative (SD-IPEC). After chairing a planning committee to bring Barbara Brandt to the middle of the prairie in Chamberlain, South Dakota to host a “courageous conversations” interprofessional summit with leading stakeholders across the state, our vision for a statewide collaborative was born. It was hard work to develop the relationships, build trust among competing institutions in both education and practice, and forge a new kind of partnership to advance a culture of health for the citizens of South Dakota. The collaborative continues to work to maintain the relationships and build initiatives to advance the Triple Aim by looking at our patients and communities in South Dakota to determine next steps. When I retired as Chair of Nursing at the University of South Dakota in 2016, my passion for interprofessional education and collaborative practice didn’t stop. I am a Professor Emerita with the Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, and I was asked to stay with the SD-IPEC in an advisory capacity. In early 2017, I took a position with the National Center as the Project Coordinator for the Accelerating Interprofessional Community-Based Education and Practice Program. I am excited about the opportunities to help others build their Nexus and bring their vision to a reality.



Barbara F. Brandt, PhD

Director, National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education Associate Vice President, University of Minnesota

Finding her student teaching experience in her undergraduate degree program less than satisfying, Barbara Brandt vowed to never teach. Never say never. In her own words. . .

"Serendipity describes my career. Having no background in health care after graduating from the University of Illinois-Chicago, I needed a job to pay the bills. I took the first available one as a medical assistant in a health maintenance organization. Moving to Boston and working at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, I became a jack-of-all trades in running physicians’ offices: receptionist; medical transcriber; “rooming” patients, including taking electrocardiograms and blood pressures. The physicians with whom I worked taught me to triage patient calls and needs – it was an four-year intensive apprenticeship as a front-line worker.

My journey in higher education took me to three Land Grant Universities (Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota), as a boundary-spanner in positions of increasing responsibilities to navigate the relationship between higher education and communities. Along the way, I completed my PhD in continuing education with a focus on the health professions from the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. And, yes, I do teach. I am a tenured faculty member in pharmacy.

I’ve developed interprofessional programs in clinical and community environments in rural east central Illinois, eastern Kentucky, and rural as well as urban Minnesota. In all three institutions, I worked with and in Area Health Education Centers (AHECs).

For the past twenty-five years, I have had the opportunity to work across the United States in linking education with interprofessional workforce development, As a faculty member, I was a consultant to the National Health Service Corps Director, Dr. Don Weaver, for nine years. My husband and I worked to establish the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved when we lived in Lexington Kentucky. I’ve always had a passion for developing new models of learning systems linked to clinical and community environments. And, now I am the Director of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, creating the Nexus.

Susan Meyer and Carla Dieter are my colleagues who are co-creating the Nexus Learning System with me. Both have substantial experiences as health professionals in implementing interprofessional education and collaborative practice in universities with communities. Susan - who served as one of the original IPEC committee members - and I have worked together on creating several national programs in pharmacy education and interprofessional education.

Carla introduced me to Chamberlain, South Dakota, where we created a “courageous conversation” stakeholder approach that led to the development of the statewide South Dakota Interprofessional Practice and Education Collaborative. Carla now closely works with me on the Accelerating Interprofessional Community-based Education and Practice Initiative. We are learning everyday together."


Curt Turner, MBC

Communications Manager – National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education

I believe that all of us, despite our current title and background, are professional communicators. What we say and how we say it matters. I began my unofficial communications career creating content and designs for corporate websites while formally working in microbiology. This experience luckily coincided with the explosion of personal computer technology, giving individuals like me the power to create any type of communication from start to finish. The field of communications continues to evolve rapidly. When I began no one had thought of making a living writing a blog or having a full-time, highly lucrative career as a YouTube personality. But here we are. In the end, the technology and method of communicating is secondary to the message. To be effective what really matters will be understanding the audience and the clarity of the message to that unique audience. I look forward to helping others craft and deliver their message.