Posted on January 18, 2018

Over 170 students and 20 faculty from Qatar University (QU) colleges of Health Sciences (CHS), Medicine (CMED) and Pharmacy (CPH) participated in the interprofessional education (IPE) activities organized by QU Health IPE Committee (IPEC).

The event engaged students and faculty from various professions including pharmacy, medicine, public health, nutrition, and biomedical sciences. It aimed to introduce the concept of IPE to students and to enable them to learn how to be part of a professional health care team and communicate in a collaborative and culturally sensitive manner.

The event’s program featured a lecture on the concepts of IPE and its importance within a health care team by CPH Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and QU Health IPEC Chair Dr Alla El-Awaisi. It also included an icebreaker game during which the students introduced themselves and competed against other teams in trying to identify the highest number of health care professionals, as well as a case-based discussion led by Ms Dima Arafa, Teaching Assistant at CHS Department of Public Health. The discussion focused on a 52-year-old Qatari man with an 8-year history of hypertension and lactose intolerance. The students identified which professionals would best meet the needs of this patient, what they will do and how will these professions work together. They also discussed the importance of collaboration between various health care professionals to address patient health needs during the blockade.

Commenting on the IPE activities, QU Vice President for Medical and Health Sciences and CMED Dean Dr Egon Toft said: “We are fortunate to be part of a well-established and comprehensive university with a considerably broad range of health-related programs such as the award-winning nation-wide Interprofessional Education (IPE) program led by the QU Health.”

CHS Dean and Biomedical Research Center Director Prof Asma Al-Thani said: “The purpose of health care education is to prepare students to become professionals who can competently deliver high-quality care in Qatar. Learning in the IPE context is an important element of preparation for working in multi-professional teams. All participants from all colleges benefited from the assimilation of IPE approaches within the pedagogical content. They had increased their knowledge of the nature of IPE, including its potential to improve patient outcomes through improving health care delivery, its political relevance whilst simultaneously being brought up to date with local  partners and stakeholders. As we integrate comprehensively into a vastly functioning QU Health Cluster, the IPE activities are moving steadily to full integration across all programs of the cluster, which will ultimately enhance the overall quality of education and improve patient health care in Qatar.”

CPH Dean Dr Mohammad Diab said: “Developing an interprofessional culture from early on in the health care student learning experience is vital to graduate collaborative practice ready graduates who will be the future health care providers in the State of Qatar, working to promote and foster a collaborative practice environment. It was inspiring to see this large number of students and faculty with high level of commitment and enthusiasm learning and working together in this very important event. The College of Pharmacy has been a pioneer in leading interprofessional education since 2014 and we are glad to see this now operating at QU Health, in line with the latter’s vision to be regionally recognized for excellence in interprofessional health education and inter-disciplinary health research.”

Dr Alla El-Awaisi said: “This was an important activity to mark the launching of interprofessional education into all QU Health first-year health care programs. QU Health is committed to integrating IPE experiences into the different health care curricula with a vision to be regionally recognized for excellence in interprofessional health education. IPE is not simply bringing students from different health care professions together but it is an opportunity for health care students to learn with, from and about each other to prepare them for their future dealings with others once they graduate with an ultimate goal of enhancing patient care in Qatar. More importantly, under the current blockade, health care professionals need to unite efforts together and work hand in hand to improve collaboration and the quality of care delivered to patients as highlighted in the case discussed with students during the event.”

First-year medical student Talal Alyafei said: “The IPE activity was a great experience, because I learned that teamwork with different health care students is the best way to solve any case by sharing our perspectives and working interprofessionally to provide optimal patient care.”