About the National Center

The National Center offers and supports evaluation, research, data and evidence that ignites the field of interprofessional practice and education and leads to better care, added value and healthier communities.

InformingAbout the National Center

The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education is a unique public-private partnership charged by its funders to provide the leadership, evidence and resources needed to guide the nation on the use of interprofessional education and collaborative practice as a way to enhance the experience of health care, improve population health and reduce the overall cost of care. We do this by aligning interprofessional education and collaborative practice (the “new IPE”) with transforming health care delivery.

With the help of our partners, we’re opening doors to possibilities and progress, while challenging people to think in new and different ways about health care and how health professionals learn.  

We gather, synthesize, aggregate and disseminate information, knowledge and evidence about the effectiveness of interprofessional practice and education on health outcomes and its potential to transform health care and health professions education in the U.S. and beyond.

We maintain our role as unbiased, neutral conveners working across many professional boundaries, cultures and experiences.  In doing so, we are breaking new ground, inspiring people to join the journey and elevating the contributions of others along the way – providing the leadership, evidence, solutions and support necessary to advance the field. 

Our Mission

The National Center offers and supports evaluation, research, data and evidence that ignites the field of interprofessional practice and education and leads to better care, added value and healthier communities.

Our Vision

We believe high-functioning teams can improve the experience, outcomes and costs of health care.

The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education is advancing the way stakeholders in health work and learn together.

Our History and Funding

The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education was formed in October 2012 through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. The National Center is also funded in part by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the University of Minnesota.

Our Team and Advisors

Our Team

We are an interdisciplinary team of professionals committed to using the expertise, evidence and evaluation generated through our partnerships to inspire change in the way people experience health care and education. 

Ahmad AbuSalah, PhD, Lead Informaticist

Dr. AbuSalah is a research assistant professor and core faculty at the Institute for Health Informatics at the University of Minnesota. He serves as the Scientific Coordinator for Clinical Informatics (SCCI) at the Best Practices Integrative Informatics Consulting and Collaborative Science Core (BPIC) under the umbrella of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute's (CTSI) Biomedical Informatics Program. At his role, Dr. AbuSalah leads the informatics consultation services which provide a full suite of informatics consultations to researchers and principal investigators. Dr. AbuSalah is also the lead informaticist at the National Center. He has a rich industry and research background in healthcare data management and analytics with a focus on large scale healthcare data integration, Informatics Infrastructure Models, Business Intelligence and value-based care models for the support of patient safety, quality of care and cost reduction.

Barbara Brandt, PhD, Director

Renowned for her work in health professional education, and specifically, interprofessional education and continuing education, Dr. Barbara Brandt serves as the associate vice president for education within the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center, and she is responsible for the University’s 1Health initiative to build the interprofessional practice skills of students and faculty in a broad range of health professions. Dr. Brandt is also the director of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, a public-private partnership and cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration, established in 2012.

In her leadership roles, Dr. Brandt has served as a consultant, advisor and speaker for a wide variety of organizations such as the Institute of Medicine, the National Quality Forum, the Academy of Healthcare Improvement, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Medical Association.

Dr. Brandt holds a bachelor of arts in the teaching of history from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master of education and doctor of philosophy degrees in continuing education (specializing in continuing professional education for the health professions) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2013 she was recognized as a University of Illinois Distinguished Alumna. She completed W.K. Kellogg Foundation-sponsored post-doctoral fellowship for faculty in adult and continuing education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Amy Gale, MSA, MAEd, Project Manager, Nexus Innovations Network 

Amy Gale joined the National Center team in 2015 as a project coordinator for the Nexus Innovations Network. Prior to joining the National Center, Gale was a senior analyst at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan where she was responsible for the project management of several collaborative quality initiatives focused on common and costly areas of medical and surgical care. Gale received master’s degrees in health services administration and education from Central Michigan University. 

Huy Hoang, MS, Web Developer

Huy Hoang joined the National Center in 2014 as web developer and technology analyst. He is responsible for maintaining the technical aspects of the National Center's website, including functionality and server administration, and also provides general technical support to the team. Hoang has a master's degree in software engineering from the University of Minnesota and has enjoyed both studying and working at the University. Prior to joining the National Center, he supported the University's Center for Writing and Moodle support team.

Sean Diego Johnson, Events and Special Projects Coordinator

Sean Diego joined the National Center as the Events and Special Projects Coordinator in 2017, where he is responsible for planning and executing educational and stewardship events and activities on behalf of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. He brings years of nonprofit event development and project management experience to the team through his time spent working for Twin Cities Pride and the American Cancer Society. Sean Diego graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with bachelor's degrees in Spanish Studies and Journalism.

Jennifer Stumpf Kertz, MPP, Center Administrator

Jennifer Kertz has served as the associate to the associate vice president for education in the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center since 2006, providing guidance and oversight for administrative, fiscal, policy and operations functions. She is an experienced grant writer and administrator and was instrumental in creating the Office of Education as an interprofessional academic infrastructure linked to practice. Previously, Jeny worked in community relations for the Academic Health Center, developing the Mini Medical School program and other community-related activities. Prior to coming to the University, Jeny worked for Weber-Shandwick, a public relations firm in Minneapolis, and for the City of Moorhead, Minnesota, coordinating community-campus partnerships between the city and the local institutions of higher education. Ms. Kertz has a Bachelor of Science in mass communication and political science from Moorhead (Minnesota) State University and a Master of Public Policy from University of Minnesota.

Stephanie Lackey, MS, Technical Coordinator

Stephanie joined the National Center team in 2015 as the technical coordinator. She brings a diverse work and volunteer background to the department, including a yearlong internship in Huế, Vietnam. Stephanie holds a Master of Science in environmental studies and certificate of public health from the University of Montana-Missoula. She focused her graduate studies on environmental justice and the impact of environmental hazards on human health. Stephanie also received a Bachelor of Arts in international studies-environmental commons and a Certificate of Russian, East Europe, and Central Asian studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

M. Nawal Lutfiyya, PhD, Senior Research Scientist

M. Nawal Lutfiyya, PhD, FACE is a chronic disease epidemiologist and a senior research scientist at the National Center for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice and Education. Dr. Lutfiyya holds a faculty position in the department of pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical science in the College of Pharmacy. Previously she held appointments with the Essentia Institute for Rural Health as a senior research scientist, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority as a senior epidemiologist and the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine at Rockford where she was the director of research for the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Lutfiyya completed graduate training at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She took her undergraduate training in sociology and social psychology at the University of Manitoba in Canada. In addition, she has completed both post-doctoral and fellowship training. Dr. Lutfiyya has taught clinical epidemiology, preventive medicine, health communication and chronic disease management to medical students and analytic methods and bio-statistics to both medical and graduate students. Additionally, she has developed and directed a longitudinal research fellowship for ambulatory care and acute care PharmD residents and a longitudinal evidence-based medicine and research curriculum for family medicine residents. In 2012 Dr. Lutfiyya was elected a fellow in the American College of Epidemiology as recognition for significant and sustained contributions to the discipline of epidemiology. She has also been the recipient of an Alpha Omega Alpha (medical honors society) clinical teaching award. Dr. Lutfiyya is well published and her work can be found in a wide variety of journals such as BMC Health Services Research, the International Journal of Health Care Quality, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Rural and Remote Health, the Journal of Asthma, BMC Public Health, Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Journal of Pharmacy Education, Journal of Interprofessional Care, and the Journal of Women’s Health. Presently, Nawal is an associate editor for the journal BMC Health Services Research.

Whitney Meredith, MA, Lead Evaluator

Whitney Meredith leads the National Center’s efforts to use evaluation data to both assess and improve its effectiveness and to increase the evaluation capacity of Nexus Innovations Network participants. Prior to joining the team in 2015, Meredith spent four years serving as an evaluator at the University of Minnesota Extension, where she supported the utilization-focused evaluations of numerous programs. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in organizational leadership, policy and development from the University of Minnesota and has a master’s degree in the same field. Meredith received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Colgate University and previously taught middle school through Teach for America.

Stephanie Pedersen, Executive Office and Administrative Specialist

Stephanie Pedersen joined the National Center as the Executive Office and Administrative Specialist in 2017, where she is responsible for providing administrative support for the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. Stephanie has a background in real estate and nonprofit data management.

Teresa Schicker, MPA, Project Coordinator, Nexus Innovations Network 

Teresa Schicker joined the National Center team in 2014 as project coordinator for the Nexus Innovations Network. With a diverse professional background in academic medicine, hospitality, business start-ups and non-profits, Schicker brings a unique approach to her work with the National Center’s applied research sites. Previously, Schicker was a coordinator of TeamSTEPPS trainings for health care professionals. She holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota.

Connie C. Schmitz, PhD, Consultant, Academic Health Center, University of Minnesota

Connie Schmitz is an educational psychologist with a background in curriculum development, learner assessment, program evaluation, and education research. For 15 years she has worked with academic physicians at the University of Minnesota - most recently as Director of Education Research and Development for the Department of Surgery. For nine years she ran her own consulting company, evaluating education, health and human service programs funded by government agencies, foundations, and non-profit organizations.

Curt Turner, MBC, Communications Manager

Curt joined the National Center in 2016 as communications manager. He is responsible for helping build and sustain a national reputation for the center and support its mission through strategic communications. Prior to joining the National Center, Curt worked extensively as a marketing and communications consultant for both higher education and wellness. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Minnesota and master of business communication certification from the University of St. Thomas.

Shana Weiss, PhD, Continuing Education Director

Shana Weiss joined the National Center in 2016 as the Interprofessional Continuing Education Director.  In this role, Dr. Weiss develops, analyzes and implements continuing education programs, as well as ensures compliance of all IP CE activities.

Shana has spent 15 years working within higher education in operational, instructional, programmatic accreditation and academic leadership roles.  Most recently, she served as Academic Dean for a consortium of career colleges, and has also worked in faculty roles for state and private universities. She has also spent over 7 years working in advertising, marketing and business development within Minneapolis advertising agencies and financial institutions.

Dr. Weiss holds Bachelor of Arts degrees from St. Olaf College in English and Communications/Theater.  She holds Master of Arts degrees from The College of St. Scholastica (management) and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (strategic communication), as well as an MBA (Minnesota School of Business).  She earned her PhD from the School of Business and Technology at Capella University (specializing in organizational change management). 

Angela Willson, Education and Training Program Manager

Angela Willson brings diverse experience in program administration, project management, grant writing, and communications to her role as Executive Assistant in the Academic Health Center and National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.

Prior to joining the team to support Dr. Barbara Brandt in 2015, Willson worked with RESOURCE, a workforce development and human services non-profit in Minneapolis. At RESOURCE, Willson mobilized a wide network of professional women to act as mentors to urban single mothers working toward career success. Willson also spent three years as Director of Initiatives at the Center for the Homeless in South Bend, Indiana notably serving as project manager for the renovation of the Robert L. Miller, Sr. Veterans Center, a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the first transitional housing facility for homeless veterans in northern IN.

Willson grew up in Southeast Asia and holds a commitment to fostering diversity and supporting fragile populations. She contributes to fundraising and strategic planning on the board of directors for Our Saviour’s Community Services. She is also an active member of the arts community in Minneapolis and central Minnesota.

Willson earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Writing from Bethel University, is a 2009 cohort member of the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame, and is working toward a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Minnesota.

Our Advisors

We engage with people passionate about advancing the field of interprofessional practice and education to help inform our work. From health care professionals and students to patients, families and communities, our advisors play an important role in guiding us.

National Advisory Council

The national advisory council provides independent, expert advice and guidance –grounded in the broad perspectives and experiences of its members – to advance the field of interprofessional practice and education. Members of the council are strategic thought partners, collaborators and catalysts for action.

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National Center Data Repository (NCDR) Advisory Council

Data are critical in measuring how the Nexus improves patient care and health professions education, population health and cost. The NCDR advisory council counsels National Center staff on developing surveys and other evaluation tools that can be used to measure the overall effectiveness of interprofessional practice and education.

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Process Redesign Advisory Group

Since December 2012, the process redesign advisory group has provided independent, third-party observations and monthly guidance focused on bringing the vision of the Nexus to life. Advice ranges from vision, process and infrastructure to help inform strategies for process redesign of health care and education.

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Advisory Board on Interprofessional Continuing Education

The 13-member advisory board is leveraging the National Center’s research to identify interprofessional continuing education (IPCE) models that can advance the development of a workforce that thrives in a team-based, collaborative practice environment.

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Nexus Learning System Advisory Committee

Formed in 2015, the Nexus Learning System Advisory Committee is charged with helping to shape and support the vision of the National Center’s Interprofessional Continuing Education Program. Vision: Improving the health of the nation by advancing the continuum of interprofessional lifelong learning through innovation, research and continuous quality improvement.This small group of forward thinking members of the IPE community will ensure the National Center’s interprofessional continuing education programming is in alignment with advancing the transformation of the U.S. health system. As a Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™ provider, the National Center designs its continuing educational offerings “by the team for the team”.

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