ASAHP Position Statement on Interprofessional Education
The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP) strongly endorses the practice of interprofessional education (IPE). Support for IPE is based on the idea that informed and collaborative practices across disciplines will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of delivery systems to promote team-based, patient/family centered health care.
ASAHP was chartered in Washington, D.C. in September 1967 as a not-for-profit national professional association for administrators, educators, and others who were concerned with critical issues affecting allied health education. ASAHP’s current mission is to improve health through excellence in education.
ASAHP represents schools and programs that provide education to a variety of health professionals involved in the delivery of health or related services pertaining to the identification, evaluation and prevention of diseases and disorders; dietary, food and nutrition services; rehabilitation and health systems management, among others.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines interprofessional education as occurring when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care and recognizes IPE as a necessary step in preparing a “collaborative practice-ready” health workforce that is better prepared to respond to local health needs. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) have published reports that examine IPE and common competencies that identify the overlapping practices of health professionals and that distinguish individual professional and interprofessional competencies. In addition, federal regulations support the use of health teams that not only respond to acute care but also prevent disability and disease from happening in the first place.
The development of interprofessional competencies requires that students begin to understand their roles in teams as part of their professional education, so that they can contribute to team-based care. As the leading organization representing health professions schools, ASAHP should serve as a collaborative resource and advocate for interprofessional education to students, faculty, professional accrediting bodies, and practitioners through instruction, research and service.
- It is essential for all health professions programs and schools to provide interprofessional learning opportunities for students from a variety of health disciplines.
- IPE must include a variety of disciplines that are important and necessary to provide comprehensive care, including health disciplines as well as other supportive disciplines such as informatics and management, engineering, philosophy and ethics.
- IPE should foster competencies beyond clinical care, including leadership, advocacy, and evidence-based practice.
- Students from all programs should participate in interprofessional placements that provide interaction and collaboration with at least one other health discipline in the care of actual patients/clients and families.
- Support should be provided for broad-based partnerships that may involve multiple practice sites, as well as multiple schools and programs, to build opportunities that are meaningful through collaborative use of resources.
- Accreditation and practice standards should allow for interprofessional experiences as part of the required hours for students, including times when clinical faculty from other disciplines will be supervising students.
ASAHP strongly endorses and supports interprofessional initiatives. ASAHP’s core objectives firmly place IPE and its multidisciplinary collaboration, education, development, and healthcare outcomes at the forefront of its mission.