Interprofessional education (IPE) programs are a major strategic emphasis for NC AHEC.

In a transforming health care workplace, interprofessional teamwork skills are increasingly needed to meet the challenges of modern health systems.  Hugh Tilson, Director of NC AHEC, offers a position statement outlining NC AHEC support for integrating IPE across health professions training in North Carolina.

Visit the NC AHEC statewide continuing education calendar to find programs that fill your need.

from our partners at the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education

The idea that teams and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around for more than 50 years.  During this time, many have experimented with a variety of approaches for educating health professionals to work in teams.

Interest in this topic was renewed after the Institute of Medicine issued a series of reports, in the early 2000s that raised concerns about medical errors, patient safety and the quality of health care delivered in the United States, and noted a link to the need for health professionals to work better together in teams. This lack of teamwork, collaboration and communication was leading to a variety of adverse and costly outcomes.


Traditionally, IPE has referred to interprofessional education. The most commonly accepted definition, adapted from the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education in the United Kingdom and the World Health Organization, states that it “occurs when two or more professions (students, residents and health workers) learn with, about, and from each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”

We use the phrase “interprofessional practice and education” (IPE) as a way to create a shared space between interprofessional education, interprofessional practice and collaborative practice. The “new IPE” does not replace the principles related to these concepts – rather, it embraces them.

The “new” IPE is not about education for education’s sake. It’s about improving health, creating support systems and trying different models of practice.  It intentionally supports people – including health professionals, health workers, students, residents, patients, families and communities – to learn together every day to enhance collaboration and improve health outcomes while reducing costs.


In January 2020, NC AHEC launched the first statewide assembly of education leaders to assess the current state of IPE initiatives at academic institutions to discuss methods for standardizing didactic and clinical learning environment curricula and executing IPE faculty development. The Interprofessional Education Leaders Collaborative (IPEL-C) consists of 54 academic leaders representing 42 institutions in North Carolina.

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