Interprofessional Education Kick-off Event Emphasizes Teamwork


UCSF held its Interprofessional Education kick-off event this week, with Kevin Grumbach, MD and Chair of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine, setting the tone for the day — that high-quality health care requires collaboration.

“You took a very individualistic road to get here,” said Grumbach. “But that won’t suffice here. You’re going to find out that you will need to work with a team.”

Furthermore, Grumbach reminded the students: “You are not going to be the most important player in the health care system. Who is the most important player? The patient is.”

More than 475 first-year professional students attended the Interprofessional Education (IPE) kick-off event, held Monday, October 7, in the Millberry Union Gym, where they were introduced to the concepts and importance of interprofessional education. 

This year's event included a keynote address from San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White, who focused on the importance of teamwork during the Asiana crash at the San Francisco International Airport in July.

She advised the first-year students to become “a contributing member of the team,” and urged the students to be willing to take risks. “There is nothing wrong with thinking outside the box, if it is done in a respectful way,” said Hayes-White.

After the presentations, the students gathered in small group breakout sessions, where they met for the first time the IPE group they will collaborate with throughout the year on various projects.

“It was such an enlightening experience to meet and work with such a diverse group,” said first-year nursing student Sarah Kahn.

“I didn't realize there were so many sub-specialties in nursing. Also, one of the group members had been working in the insurance industry and brought a different perspective to the group,” added Leanne Thai, a first-year pharmacy student.

The students will participate in the year-long IPE program — now in its eighth year — with the goal of ensuring that students and trainees in health professions build skills that will ultimately increase patient safety, reduce errors, maximize efficiencies and improve the quality of care. 

"It was great to meet other students from other schools,” said Jonathan Chiu, a first-year physical therapy student. "I learned that every profession does a lot more than I realized."

The IPE Executive Committee includes Tina Brock, School of Pharmacy; Catherine Lucey and Kimberly Topp, School of Medicine; Judy Martin-Holland, School of Nursing; and Dorothy Perry, School of Dentistry. 

For additional information about IPE, please visit