The World Health Organization has issued an important call to policy-makers, decision-makers, educators, health workers, community leaders, and global health advocates to take action and move towards embedding interprofessional education (IPE) and collaborative practice in all of the services they deliver. IPE encourages collaboration among medical and healthcare learners in order to provide better care to patients— and the requirement for IPE in all facets of healthcare education increases every year.
As an educator, you understand the need for IPE. But you may not be sure how you'll fund such a program at your institution. Applying for an educational grant may be an answer. Read these five tips on getting started with the grant writing process.
When writing a grant for your IPE program, first identify resources and potential funding agencies. Your institution's office of medical education may be able to assist you with finding funding resources and developing your proposal, or direct you to an internal grant program for faculty educational projects.
Also examine how comparable institutions have implemented IPE, how they funded their programs, and if they received grant funds, how they sustained their curriculum after the grant period.
Online resources for IPE:
The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education: https://nexusipe.org/
Interprofessional Education Collaborative: https://www.ipecollaborative.org/
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/hrh/resources/framework_action/en/
What disciplines at your institution will be involved in IPE? Medical, nursing, physical therapy, behavioral health, social work, law enforcement—others?
Start your IPE planning on the ground floor. By creating a "task force" comprised of IPE champions – administrators and faculty from each discipline or department – you'll be better able to develop a program that meets everyone's needs. The grant writing process can also be a collaborative effort. And some champions may have previous experience with successful educational grant applications, and offer guidance and support as you draft your proposal.
As you begin writing your grant, make your purpose clear. IPE isn't just about education for education's sake. It's about improving patient care. Collaborative support systems and practice models bring varying groups of people together to learn, enhance collaboration, and boost healthcare outcomes while reducing costs.
And don't forget to think big. Communicate the greater implications of your program: it's important to convince the funder that your innovative use of IPE will have a positive impact on educational outcomes across your institution and for the community at large.
What's in your IPE curriculum? What are the logistics for implementation? Determine your methodology, and think ahead to how you'll organize and deploy your interprofessional education plan, whether it includes several large-scale, in person IPE events per year; virtual IPE training held often, anywhere, and anytime; or a combination of both. Also determine how you'll schedule, assess, and debrief with your learners. In person events can be managed and recorded with AV-enabled simulation management technology, and virtual IPE can augment and streamline your on-site IPE program with the use of an on-demand, web-based IPE platform.
Ready to submit? Hold on! Have you proofread it?
Don't wait until the last minute to assemble your proposal. Grant awards for medical education funds are fiercely competitive, so only high-quality proposals will advance in the funding process. You don't have to be a perfectionist, but your IPE proposal should reflect your ability to conduct quality research, starting with a clearly stated objective tied to research and planning.
Good luck with your grant submission. Read on for tips on implementing your IPE program.