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Keywords:

  • interprofessional education;
  • anatomical sciences/medical education;
  • interprofessional relationships;
  • physical therapy education;
  • teamwork

Abstract

Interprofessional education (IPE) in clinical practice is believed to improve outcomes in health care delivery. Integrating teaching and learning objectives through cross discipline student interaction in basic sciences has the potential to initiate interprofessional collaboration at the early stages of health care education. Student attitudes and effectiveness of IPE in the context of a combined gross anatomy course for first-year students in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees curricula were evaluated. Integrated teams of MD and DPT students participated in part of the gross anatomy dissection course at Mayo Medical School. A survey was administered to 42 MD and 28 DPT students that assessed their attitudes toward IPE and cooperation among health care professionals. Pre- and post-experience surveys were evaluated. Positive comments were related to opportunities for developing a better understanding of the nature and scope of each other's programs, encouraging teamwork and communication, mutual respect, and reducing the perceptual divide between disciplines. Ninety-two percent of the students agreed that interprofessional learning would help them in becoming a more effective member of the health care team. This initial experience with IPE in gross anatomy provides a basis for continued development of interdisciplinary educational strategies. Anat Sci Ed 1:258–263, 2008. © 2008 American Association of Anatomists.