Interprofessional Education

Leading Oregon in Interprofessional Education


Cascades East Area Health Education Center (CEAHEC) located in Bend, Oregon as part of the St. Charles Health System (SCHS) began holding quarterly interprofessional education (IPE) for students doing medical and clinical rotations within SCHS’s four-hospital system in early 2013.  Medical students from OHSU and clinical students from across 18 specialties were invited to participate in patient case studies on topics such as the complexities of geriatric failure to thrive, ethics, professionalism, etc.

Following this highly successful pilot project conducted in collaboration with Oregon Health & Sciences University in early 2013, CEAHEC is leading the state in offering students, who are in different university programs, a team approach to learning and patient care through IPE patient case studies facilitated by physician educators.

As one of four regional AHEC centers in Oregon, CEAHEC has a mission to offer programs and services that ultimately create pathways for students to enter health careers, health professionals to practice in rural communities, and to assist communities toward improving their health. Dr. Laughlin is the Medical Director of Hospital Medicine for St. Charles Medical Group; as well as Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine for Western University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and Clinical Assistant Professor of the Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine at OHSU School of Medicine.  Her enthusiasm for teaching is greatly benefiting students at SCHS.

In Oregon, the foundation for interprofessional education is already being built at OHSU, with the creation of the Collaborative Life Sciences Building.  The building is bringing together students from the schools of dentistry, medicine and nursing; the college of pharmacy, and undergraduates from Portland State University under one roof.  A single academic calendar for all schools (started in 2013) will further clear obstacles for educational collaboration across professions.

Every profession has its own unique culture, and the health professions are no different.  Historically, the education and training of health professionals has been largely in silos, with students learning within their own groups and with minimal exposure to the practices and perspectives of colleagues in related health professions.  This sustained separation during the formative educational and training years can foster miscommunication, competition and distrust among professionals in the real world.  IPE can break down professional silos.

An effort is underway at OHSU to promote interprofessional education by engaging faculty and students from different health professions in a variety of settings, including shared teaching, learning, and practice environments. There students and faculty will learn together with the explicit purpose of improving collaboration and learning to work with colleagues at the highest scope of their professional capacity to collectively improve care for patients.

In 2012-2013, a total of 159 MD medical students, PA students and residents from OHSU and DO medical students from COMP-NW completed rotations in clinic and inpatient settings within the four-hospital system, all working under physician supervision across 18 specialty areas.  By offering IPE at St. Charles Health System, we are supporting student learning, promoting collaboration among professionals that leads to a team approach to patient care, and ultimately improving the health of patients.

For more information or to participate in upcoming IPE trainings, please contact Patsy Dryden at 541.706.2617 or