Education Leadership Conference

Is a whole team of health-care professionals liable if a patient's care is compromised? At this point, no one has an answer to that question, said Jody Gandy, PhD, of the American Physical Therapy Association, at a 2009 Education Leadership Conference session on interprofessional education and communication. In fact, there are many unknowns about interdisciplinary care, including how to measure the effectiveness of providers within health-care teams and the best ways to prepare students to participate in interprofessional practice, said panelists at the session.

But thanks to the work of the Interprofessional Professionalism Collaborative, a group of 11 health associations that includes APA, health-care providers may soon have more guidance on navigating interprofessional waters. Gandy, along with representatives from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and APA's representative to the group, Catherine Grus, PhD, reported on the group's progress. IPC has assembled a list of 43 interprofessional behaviors they plan to submit to the journal Academic Medicine for publication and is amassing a list of resources on how to teach and assess these skills.

Panelists also asked ELC attendees to identify the barriers to interprofessionalism that need the most attention, with participants noting that fee-for-service systems often create competition among disciplines and that selling the value of interdisciplinary work to administrators can be tough.

"One of the things we do know is that if you don't have support within an academic institution from higher up, [interprofessionalism] fails," added Gandy.

Attendees also emphasized that psychologists need to step up efforts to share good models of integrated care, such as the work of rehabilitation psychologists, who have long operated in such settings. They also agreed that psychologists need to better promote the services they provide to other disciplines.

"My experience is, once they know what you do, they can't get enough of you," said psychologist Suzanne Bennett Johnson, PhD, of Florida State University.

For more information on the Interprofessional Professionalism Collaborative's observable interprofessional professionalism behaviors, visit its wiki page at


Education Leadership Conference

From October 3-6, psychologists representing various aspects of psychology education gathered in Washington, D.C., for the eighth annual Education Leadership Conference, sponsored by APA's Education Directorate and Board of Educational Affairs. With the theme of "Preparing Tomorrow's Health Workforce," participants discussed interprofessionalism, the role of community colleges and academic health centers in psychology education and training, and visited Capitol Hill to talk with lawmakers about psychology-friendly legislation.