Introduction: The Health Educators Academy at Western Carolina University was developed by the Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. Interdisciplinary fellows in the 2015 HEA focused on competency based education (CBE), which naturally incentivizes collaborative, interdisciplinary and interprofessional work. The 2015 Health Educator Academy Fellows researched healthcare competencies and designed curriculum changes that aligned within these parameters. This article discusses the creation of a first-year, interprofessional healthcare course that emphasizes CBE as well as interprofessional practice. Interprofessional Goals: The 2015 Academy Fellows believed that a collaborative course in the first-year curriculum that builds upon integral competencies would help introduce a structure that would support further IPE in later courses. Background of CBE: The recent expansion of CBE in higher education is a result of a number of factors, including changing demographics, the increase in student debt, declining state funding, and the need for accountability markers and improved learning outcomes. First- Year Experience: First-year seminars were first designed to ease the transition to college for students and to increase both retention and persistence to graduation. Proposed CBE Course: Three foundational interprofessional global health competencies domains were implemented into the first-year experience course: collaboration, partnering and communication; ethics; and sociocultural and political awareness. Reflection and Lessons Learned: In reflecting upon the process of designing a first-year interprofessional, competency-based course, the members of the Health Educator Academy organically implemented many educator and curricular best practices that facilitate collaboration in health care delivery. Future Plans: Rather than deal with complex health issues from a single, specialized approach, healthcare providers will need to work as a team to meet the needs of patients as well as the broader community. Courses such as a first-year seminar based on interprofessional competency-based curriculum can begin the process of teaching students to think collaboratively and critically. This type of course will provide some of the tools that students will need once they leave the university and enter the professional realm.

Author Bio(s)

Melissa M. Snyder, PhD, LAT, ATC, CSCS is an associate professor at Western Carolina University. She teaches in the athletic training program and is a certified athletic trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist.

Amy Murphy-Nugen, PhD, MSW is an assistant professor at Western Carolina University. She teaches in the social work program at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Amy Rose, PhD, CCC-SLP is an assistant professor at Western Carolina University. She teaches in the communications sciences and disorders program and her research interests include social skills and friendship development in individuals with disabilities.

Gayle Wells, PhD is an associate professor at Western Carolina University. She teaches in the health and physical education program and has served as Program Coordinator for Graduate and Undergraduate Health and PE and has worked with numerous academic success programs for the Office of the Provost.

Carol MacKusick, PhD, RN, CNE is an assistant professor at Western Carolina University. She teaches in the nursing program and specializes in nephrology, endocrinology, nursing education and NCLEX development




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