Exploring interprofessional education in the family medicine clerkship: a CERA study

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Submitted by SLU Center for ... on Aug 14, 2014 - 1:27pm CDT

Resource Type: 
Journal Article


The need for interprofessional education (IPE) to improve teamwork skills has been recognized by several national organizations. The purpose of this study was to investigate IPE integration in family medicine clerkships and factors associated with IPE's success.


A survey of clerkship directors at US allopathic medical schools was conducted through the Council of Academic Family Medicine Educational Research Alliance (CERA). Respondents were asked (1) whether IPE was part of the curriculum, (2) the educational methods used, (3) which health professions students and faculty participated in IPE, (4) what outcomes were measured, (5) the types of faculty development provided, and (6) the barriers encountered when implementing IPE.


The response rate was 66% (88/134), and 38% reported incorporating IPE into the clerkship with most offering IPE in clinical activities. A wide variety of health professions students and faculty participated in clerkship IPE activities. One third of the respondents offered faculty development. Most agreed that third party funding (85%), IPE team training (94%), clearly defined roles (94%), and dedicated time during clinical care for team meetings (93%) were vital for IPE to succeed. Many programs did not measure IPE-specific outcomes (49%). Eighty percent reported at least one barrier to implementing IPE. The most common barriers were scheduling conflicts (46%) and lack of IPE experience (40%). No one reported a lack of institutional support for IPE.


Few clerkships offered IPE. However, family medicine is in a unique position to highlight the value of interprofessional teamwork for students and should recognize and promote IPE opportunities.

Everard, K
Crandall, S
Blue, A
Rottnek, F
Pole, D
Mainous, A