Going "Back to the Future" at Collaborating Across Borders

As many of us prepare to travel to Vancouver next week for Collaborating Across Borders IV, we are already looking forward to the next installment of this premiere conference on interprofessional practice and education. Today, the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative (AIHC) announced the selection of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute as the host for Collaborating Across Borders V in fall 2015.

Virginia Tech Carilion is a new medical school and research institute formed in 2007. An innovative public-private partnership, VTC joins Virginia Tech’s strengths in engineering, the basic sciences, computation, the life sciences, informatics, and behavioral science with Carilion Clinic’s highly experienced care team and rich history in health professions education. Partnerships like this illustrate how genuine collaboration between practice and education offers new opportunities to prepare students for a rapidly changing health marketplace.

New schools offer unique opportunities for innovation to incorporate interprofessional learning and collaborative practice in creative ways.  Except for the differences in geographical settings, their vision and enthusiasm reminds me of my early career in a new medical school at the University of Illinois in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  I will be sharing those interprofessional education experiences with CAB IV participants in the “Back to the Future” plenary session next week.

We hosted the first Collaborating Across Borders conference in 2007 here at the University of Minnesota. Since that time, the bi-annual conference has become a leading North American venue for practitioners, scholars, educators, health system leaders, and students to gather, reflect on our progress and challenges, and learn from one another. The CAB I (in Minneapolis),CAB II (in Halifax), and CAB III (in Tucson) websites offer a look into the history of collaboration with our Canadian colleagues, along with some astonishing evidence of how far we’ve come together. The field of interprofessional practice and education is absolutely exploding. CAB I had 250 participants; CAB IV is expecting more than 700. At the National Center, we’ve received interest, ideas, and support from every corner of health care and education. It’s an exciting time, and I look forward to continuing this important conversation in person in Vancouver next week, in Pittsburgh at All Together Better Health 7 in June 2014, and in Roanoke in just two short years.

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