Media Relations

AACN, Health Educators, Foundations Release Competencies and Action Strategies for Interprofessional Education

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Press Release  
For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C., May 10, 2011—Two new reports released today by six national health professions associations and three private foundations recommend new competencies for interprofessional education in the health professions, and action strategies to implement them in institutions across the country. By establishing these competencies, the proponents believe our nation’s health care system can be transformed to provide collaborative, high-quality, and cost-effective care to better serve every patient.

The first report,
Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, was produced by an expert panel convened in 2009 by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), a unique partnership of six associations—the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Dental Education Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Association of Schools of Public Health. Interprofessional education, as defined by the World Health Organization, involves shared learning among students from two or more health professions.

The panel was charged with identifying individual-level core interprofessional competencies for future health professionals. It proposed four domains of core competencies needed to provide integrated, high-quality care to patients within the nation’s current, evolving health care system. It also identified 38 specific subcompetencies that describe the essential behaviors across the four domains.

Overall, the panel recommends that future health professionals be able to:

  • Assert values and ethics of interprofessional practice by placing the interests, dignity, and respect of patients at the center of health care delivery, and embracing the cultural diversity and differences of health care teams.
  • Leverage the unique roles and responsibilities of interprofessional partners to appropriately assess and address the health care needs of patients and populations served.
  • Communicate with patients, families, communities, and other health professionals in support of a team approach to preventing disease and disability, maintaining health, and treating disease.
  • Perform effectively in various team roles to deliver patient/population-centered care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable.

The second report, Team-Based Competencies, Building a Shared Foundation for Education and Clinical Practice, was the result of a conference, sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the ABIM Foundation in partnership with IPEC. The meeting, held in February 2011, brought together more than 80 leaders from various health professions to preview the core competencies presented by IPEC, and create action strategies that would use them to “transform health professional education and health care delivery in the United States.”

Conference participants developed the following action strategies to implement the IPEC core competencies and move to a system of educating health professionals to work collaboratively:

1. Communicate and disseminate the core competencies to key stakeholders—academic deans, policymakers, and health care leaders—and launch an education campaign that makes the critical link between collaborative health care teams and providing high-quality, safe, and cost-sensitive treatment.

2. Prepare faculty for teaching students how to work effectively as part of a team and encourage all health professions to use the competencies in their fields.

3. Develop metrics for interprofessional education and collaborative care to help advance
team-based competencies in teaching and practice.

4. Forge partnerships among the academic community, health care providers, and government agencies to advance interprofessional education.

The Interprofessional Education Collaborative and the foundations believe that establishing these core competencies for health professionals will provide the valuable transformative direction needed to improve the nation’s health care system

These two reports may be downloaded from the AACN Web site at and


Quotes from the Interprofessional Education Collaborative and Its Foundation Partners

“The health care we want to provide for the people we serve—safe, high-quality, accessible, person-centered—must be a team effort. No single health profession can achieve this goal alone. These new competencies will build a path to a collaborative health care workforce and the improved care that we all desire.”

Carol A. Aschenbrener, M.D.
Executive Vice President
Association of American Medical Colleges

“Facilitating interaction among health professions students is essential to establishing respect for the contribution each provider makes to quality health care. By moving to adopt models that embrace interprofessional education and practice, IPEC is working to heighten collaboration across disciplines to maximize the strengths that individual professions bring to integrated care delivery.”

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
American Association of Colleges of Nursing

“This work represents a down payment by the six organizations for the future of exciting new models of practice and education, and the winners are our patients!”

Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

“Team-based health care is clearly an important part of the change we are going to have to make to improve the quality of our health care system, and the Interprofessional Education Collaborative’s efforts are a major step forward in making that change—this is an important initiative for the future of the patients we all serve.”

Stephen C. Shannon, D.O., M.P.H.
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

The Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) is pleased to collaborate in the release of the “Report of an Expert Panel on Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice.” This report heralds a momentous opportunity for health and wellness in this country. The health professions’ organizations involved in this initiative—representing dentists, doctors (allopathic and osteopathic), nurses, pharmacists, and public health professionals—have produced the first consensus set of competency guidelines for primary care providers to work more effectively in clinical teams in support of patient-centered and community/population-oriented care. We anticipate that this report will set the stage for a stronger infusion of interprofessional knowledge, skills, and abilities into health professions education with the ultimate result of improving health outcomes for all Americans.

Harrison C. Spencer, M.D., M.P.H., C.P.H.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Association of Schools of Public Health

“This report coalesces the common vision of health professions educators for the preparation of future health care providers. The competencies put forth in the report are our starting point for high-quality, accessible, patient-centered care that ensures the health of the public.”

Richard W. Valachovic, D.M.D., M.P.H.
Executive Director
American Dental Education Association

“There is a growing recognition that as health care becomes more complex, the next generation of health professionals will need to function capably in teams that make optimum use of the skills each brings to the care of patients, families, and communities. The important work of IPEC and the many other academic and health professions leaders who have committed to advance it moves us along that path by defining a foundational set of teamwork competencies that should feature prominently in education and training programs, as well as in the lifelong learning of today’s health professions workforce.”

Christine K. Cassel, M.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation

We need to embrace new ways of delivering health care in this country and that change begins with how we educate those who provide health care. This report lays a foundation for educating providers in ways that support interprofessional collaboration, so we can more reliably deliver high-quality, patient-centered care. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports these new core competencies, and urges the education and health care communities to adopt them.”

Maryjoan D. Ladden, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
Senior Program Officer
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

“We have good evidence that health care delivered in teams is more efficient and more effective, yet we continue to educate our health professionals in silos. To meet the public’s needs, health professions educators must teach and model collaborative practice and team-based models of care. While some health professions schools are making these changes, it’s not happening fast enough or broadly enough. By putting forward these core competencies, we hope to accelerate efforts to transform health professions education in the United States.”

George E. Thibault, M.D.
Josiah Macy Jr.


Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext 231