Interprofessional Education Team Receives President's Award

Group of seven faculty in an exam room Interprofessional Education Team: Back row (left-to-right) - Kathy Jo Ellison, Drew Fruge, Sarah Watts, and Glenn Nordehn; Front row (left-to-right) - Jeanna Sewell, Emily Myers, and Jean Dubois

November 7, 2019

AUBURN, Alabama – In a continually-changing healthcare world that emphasizes teamwork and collaboration to address patients’ needs, a group of faculty members have ensured that students from Auburn University and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine get that experience while also helping those in the community.

The group of faculty were recently recognized as part of Auburn’s 2019 Faculty Awards with the President’s Outstanding Collaborative Units Award. The award has been given annually since 2011 and recognizes existing faculty collaborations among two or more departments, divisions, offices or programs within the university. To be considered, the work of the collaborative units must have advanced the excellence, impact and reputation of representing units and the university as a whole.

Recognized for the interprofessional education program were faculty in a variety of areas, including the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Dr. Jeanna Sewell, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. Others recognized were Dr. Drew Frugé, assistant professor and director of didactic program in dietetics in the College of Human Sciences; Emily Myers, associate clinical professor in the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Jean Dubois, clinical professor in the School of Nursing; Dr. Kathy Jo Ellison, professor in the School of Nursing; Dr. Sarah Watts, assistant professor in the School of Nursing; and Dr. Glenn Nordehn, associate dean for Interprofessional Education and Faculty Development and Discipline Chair for Care for Rural and Medically Underserved Populations at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“I am thrilled that Auburn University is honoring the work that is being done on our campus to teach our students the value of interprofessional care,” said Sewell. “The healthcare disciplines at Auburn have come together to model what it looks like to work as a team. This award speaks to the work done by many faculty, community partners, and students who have put a tremendous amount of effort into making IPE an excellent experience for our students and the future patients they will serve.”

The program started in 1998 with Auburn nursing students partnering with the Boykin Community Center for health fairs and various health promotion activities. Students from HSOP and the School of Kinesiology soon joined the effort.

The program grew into other health fairs and clinics and, in 2016, funding was secured to develop what is now the current Interprofessional Education, or IPE, program.

“Research has shown that patients receiving healthcare from teams of healthcare professionals have better outcomes than patients receiving healthcare from a single profession alone,” said Richard A. Hansen, dean of the Harrison School of Pharmacy. “Development of this team-based approach must begin during the education of healthcare professionals in order to overcome silo paradigms that plague many healthcare settings.”

As part of the program, students from a variety of healthcare disciplines including pharmacy, nursing, medicine, kinesiology, social work and others participate in community clinics on Fridays throughout the year. Additionally, seminars are offered on a variety of topics, encouraging concepts related to teamwork and collaboration. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Community Action Poverty Simulation during the summer or fall and a disaster simulation in the spring.

“Allowing students to have interprofessional experiences while in school opens up so many doors,” said Sewell. “Exposing students to their individual roles on the healthcare team, as well as the roles of others puts them a step ahead as they enter their careers. Our hope is to see a transformation in healthcare through students entering the workforce with the knowledge, skills and desire to work as part of a team to improve the outcomes of patients.”

The IPE programs combine learning opportunities with outreach and service with clinic and health fair location sites often in underserved areas. While providing access to care to those who may not otherwise have it, students are able to be a part of an innovative program that makes a considerable impact in the community.

“Because of the important work of the interprofessional education team at Auburn University, we are at the forefront and serving as a model to other universities in the nation,” said Hansen. “As a result, our students entering the healthcare setting learn to work collaboratively with students in different health professions other than their own, providing better care for our citizens.”


About the Harrison School of Pharmacy

Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. The School’s commitment to world-class scholarship and interdisciplinary research speaks to Auburn’s overarching Carnegie R1 designation that places Auburn among the top 100 doctoral research universities in the nation. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit

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Last Updated: November 7, 2019