The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Board Grant

Reframing the Academic Medical Center through Interprofessional Effectiveness: Toward Justice, Safety, and Kindness

In 2010, George Thibault invited Dr. Rita Charon of the Program in Narrative Medicine at VP&S to consider the salience of its work to interprofessional health care team development. The core faculty of the Program had realized already the consequences of serious and creative narrative work for interprofessional teams of health care workers. Our projects in the pediatric oncology in-patient unit, the family medicine in-patient ward, the ob/gyn residency, and among graduate students from varying professional backgrounds had demonstrated the power of rigorous narrative work in developing shared goals, mutual respect, individual self-awareness, and deepening trust among participants.

The prospect of launching narrative-based learning among faculty and students of the health professions schools at CUIMC was both thrilling and daunting. CUIMC is known for its strict hierarchical structure, its competitiveness, and its traditional lines of status and power. If improvement of the health care team is needed anywhere, it is in intensive research institutions like CUIMC that both set the standards for science and health care nationally and that can be deaf to movements toward equality and collaborative practice.

In anticipation of the close of the Macy Foundation funding, the deans of the four professional schools contributed toward an amount equal to our annual budget. Both symbolic and actual, this commitment installs IPE into the goals and missions of CUIMC schools and guarantees a future and growth for what we have accomplished. Since we can no longer call ourselves “The Macy Project,” we have chosen a new name for our work:

Columbia Commons for IPE: Collaboration Across Professions

The Commons will continue to be the site for education, scholarship, and practice spanning the professions, improving the work of each one.

Grant Duration: July 2012 – June 2016