Constructive contact: Design of a successful introductory interprofessional education experience

Helen M. Amerongen, Theresa A. LeGros, Janet H. Cooley, Ernest P. Schloss, Andreas Theodorou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Interprofessional education (IPE) programs have been endorsed for health professions students to improve team function in health care delivery and optimize patient outcomes. Educators have had mixed success with IPE for entry-level health professions students, with some observing exacerbated interprofessional tension. This report describes an IPE mini-course for medical, nursing, and pharmacy students structured to meet the criteria of Allport's Contact Hypothesis. Methods: Interprofessional education planners designed and implemented a constructivist exercise for medical, nursing, and pharmacy students examining scope of practice and team behavior. Assigned readings connected improved role knowledge and team behavior with the ultimate goal of enhanced patient safety. Role knowledge prior to the event was measured with a pre-test. Knowledge and attitudes were measured with a post-event survey. Results: Prior knowledge was the highest for the physician role and the lowest for the pharmacist role. Following the mini-course, knowledge of professional roles and behaviors increased. Student groups expressed strong appreciation for IPE, with pharmacy students responding most positively. Conclusions: Students emerge strongly affirming the importance of IPE in achieving quality care and patient safety. Positive outcomes are discussed in relation to predictions of the Contact Hypothesis and Social Identity Theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-574
Number of pages10
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Contact theory
  • Curriculum development
  • Interprofessional education
  • Stereotyping
  • Teamwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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