Success Through Interprofessional Education

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Dr. Jennifer Smythe

Better care. Better health. Lower cost. This “triple aim,” described as a core of healthcare reform, has long been a principle that doctors of optometry have embodied through practice and research. As we successfully provide a wide range of services, including medical eye care, vision therapy, low vision tools, neuro-rehabilitation and contact lens care, we demonstrate the effectiveness of thoughtful and purposeful communication with other providers, teachers and social groups. As the independent primary healthcare professionals for the eye, it is time for us to take OUR patient-centered approach to the next level and prepare our students alongside those in other professions for an ever-changing healthcare world.

ASCO, our individual institutions and our affiliate members are already engaging in interprofessional education (IP) activities in which students from more than one profession learn together and teach each other as they provide collaborative care. Over the coming year, a new IP Task Force will examine these educational strategies both within ASCO institutions and other health professions. We also plan to develop a list of consultants to serve as resources for demonstration projects and curriculum development. The ultimate goal is to support our member institutions and the profession as a whole by highlighting innovative IP models.

I look forward to representing ASCO as President over the coming year, and am honored to have the opportunity to hear your ideas and work together as we prepare our future alumni for contemporary interprofessional collaborative practice.