Interprofessional Education (IPE) has Grown Up: What Adds to the Literature in 2020 and Beyond?

By:  Lisa Meny, PharmD and Sue Stein, D.H.Ed., MS, BS Pharm, RPh

This post is part of an Anniversary Series celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning (CPTL) and the two-year anniversary of CPTL Pulses. In this Series, editorial board members are describing and celebrating milestones in our development and advances in support of publishing in pharmacy education.  This post specifically comments on IPE Reports, which is one of a family of article types in CPTL.

The Interprofessional Education (IPE) Journey

Interprofessional education (IPE) has grown up and has become a fixture in health professions education. With the adoption of the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards 2016, IPE became a more essential component of the doctor of pharmacy curriculum at schools and colleges of pharmacy (S/COP).1 This expectation led faculty to look to the literature for examples to model at their own institutions. What they found initially was scant.

This gap was the catalyst for development of the IPE Reports. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning (CPTL) sought to provide a platform where authors could showcase their IPE work, recognizing they might be lacking robust data to share.  The initial invitation published in 2016 states IPE Reports, “seeks to facilitate prompt dissemination of innovative, promising, early-stage IPE models alongside thoughtful analysis related to insights gained and barriers identified and overcome by pharmacy educators working to address IPE requirements.”2 

With the advancement of IPE undertaken by S/COP and other healthcare professional academics, the breadth and depth of the IPE literature has greatly expanded. S/COPs have moved past mere implementation to focusing on tackling broader IPE challenges, which include engaging with prescribers, intentional implementation within the experiential curriculum, and effectively assessing student’s team-readiness and behavioral outcomes.  The measurement of student’s attitudes and perceptions toward engaging in IPE has been well documented. IPE research, where the primary measure is based on student perceptions, is no longer novel. Additionally, articles describing how individual programs initiated and organized their IPE programming, and the types of challenges each encountered, have confirmed consistency of experiences and solutions.  So the question is: what adds to the IPE literature in 2020 and beyond? 

When you are determining whether your work contributes to the literature you should ask yourself two questions. First, does my work utilize a strong assessment tool and/or assessment process? Shrader and colleagues published a repository and evaluation of IPE assessment tools that may serve as a useful reference.3 To be considered within the CPTL IPE Reports category, it is critical for authors to include the means of assessment utilized and evidence of it being appropriate and sound. Second, can I present validity evidence as part of my IPE scholarly work? We often see authors invest in IPE design and development, however planning for scholarship and publication is often an afterthought.  While the learning experience could be valuable to share, it may lack the requisite data collection and validity discussion to make a substantive addition to the existing literature. Articles found within Methodology Matters such as the 2016 article by Cor can assist authors in evaluating validity.4 Additionally, as with other research, systematic implementation of an activity or intervention, which is then repeated, strengthens the analysis and interpretation. 

IPE Reports Relevancy Checklist 

What else should authors be asking themselves when developing their IPE Reports to be relevant in 2020?

  • Is there clear transferability of the activity outside of your institution that you are describing? Have you clearly identified the ACPE Standards and competencies?
  • How resource intensive is the activity? Is it sustainable?
  • How are the faculty selected, trained, and evaluated to assure outcomes are met?
  • What was the learning assessment strategy (e.g. self-report instruments, graded assignments, observation in authentic or simulated environments)? What is your rationale for choosing this approach?
  • How much experience do you have with the IPE activity? Is it enough to allow for substantive insights?
  • Have you critically evaluated the activity?
  • How could the activity be replicated at another institution?

Areas for Inquiry

As we move forward, where might the academy focus IPE inquiry? There is definitely room for the assessment of interprofessional student performance longitudinally throughout the curriculum. How are activities being implemented to determine student team readiness? How are S/COP integrating intentional IPE in the experiential settings across the curriculum? Additionally, how can we overcome challenges with meeting the need to conduct IPE with providers, especially physicians? Our publications within IPE Reports are designed to support authors in discovering answers to these questions and beyond.

With IPE Reports, we want to blend the rigor of pedagogical IPE research in such a way that it’s tenable, yet helpful, for all of us. We hope to incorporate more dialogue on the resource and sustainability component, as few of us are receiving enough nor is it expected to change in the near future. How do we take our innovation, ingenuity and passion to train our students to care for our patients in the vision of future effective, team-based, patient-driven, preventative healthcare? Together, as an academic team, we are stronger in harnessing our creativity, innovation and vision to teach and train our students to become outstanding healthcare providers for patients far into the future.


1. Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Accreditation Standards and Key Elements for the Professional Program in Pharmacy Leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree: Standards 2016. Chicago, IL: Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education; 2015.

2. Zorek JA, Janke KK, Harpe SE, Zavod RM. Inviting manuscripts to interprofessional education reports. Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2016;8(6):727-728.

3. Shrader S, Farland MZ, Danielson J, Sicat B, Umland EM. A systematic review of assessment tools measuring interprofessional education outcomes relevant to pharmacy education. Am J Pharm Educ. 2017:81(6)119.

4. Cor, MK. Trust me, it is valid: Research validity in pharmacy education research. Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2016;(8):391-400.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Lisa Meny is Professor of Pharmacy Practice and the Accreditation and Assessment Coordinator at Ferris State University College of Pharmacy.  Her educational scholarship interests include interprofessional education, APPE readiness, curricular and programmatic assessment, and continuous quality improvement. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters, reading, and traveling.  

Dr. Susan Stein is Professor Emeritus and Affiliate Professor of Faculty & Staff Development at Pacific University School of Pharmacy. She is also the managing member of Susan M. Stein Consulting, LLC. Most recently, she was the Associate Dean of the College of Health Professions, Director of PIPER, and Professor of the School of Pharmacy at Pacific University. Her educational scholarship interests include interprofessional education, faculty development, and curricular design/development/assessment. In her free time, she enjoys surfing, hiking and volunteering at the county animal shelter. 

Pulses is a scholarly blog supported by Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning

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