The LINC organizational model is designed to facilitate strategic alignment of key stakeholders who, through interprofessional collaboration, are positioned to bring innovative interprofessional education (IPE) ideas to life. In other words, LINC is an incubator that seeks to cultivate IPE knowledge and skills of faculty, staff, and students and increase opportunities for student IPE experiences. While many creative ideas to advance IPE at UT Health San Antonio have emerged through LINC, a handful have been selected to move beyond concept into development and implementation. The list below represents LINC programs and projects that we count as early successes.
Annually, LINC invites applications from UT Health San Antonio faculty requesting financial support for pilot projects designed to advance didactic IPE, clinical IPE, and co-curricular IPE. Support ranging from $500 to $5000 is available through the program for projects demonstrating potential in terms of future scalability, sustainability, extramural support, and integration into programs’ curricula. Pilot projects must involve stakeholders from at least two different UT Health San Antonio schools and be designed to develop competencies within learners that target the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) framework. In addition to advancing a novel IPE activity, funded projects must formally investigate effectiveness through a robust assessment of hypotheses and desired outcomes. A well-defined plan to disseminate findings and use pilot data to seek extramural funding is encouraged. To date, $80,509 has been awarded for 18 projects involving 68 investigators and collaborators.
LINC Common IPE Experience
The LINC Common IPE Experience serves as a foundation upon which all other IPE activities at UT Health San Antonio, existing and planned, are built. As such, students matriculating into UT Health San Antonio programs in the fall semester of each year are included. The purpose of this university-wide IPE activity is threefold: (1) introduce students to IPE at UT Health San Antonio using the IPEC framework; (2) facilitate interprofessional socialization; and, (3) prepare students for IPE activities they will experience as part of program-specific IPE plans. Students complete the LINC Common IPE Experience in interprofessional groups of 3-4. Interactivity is emphasized as student groups work through 5 hours of instruction that includes interprofessional socialization activities, mini-lectures, illustrated case studies, video case studies, and interprofessional discussions rooted in problem-based learning. In Fall 2020, 977 students assigned to 250 interprofessional groups completed the inaugural LINC Common IPE Experience.
LINC Faculty & Staff Development Program
The LINC Faculty & Staff Development Program is intended for UT Health San Antonio employees who are interested in learning about different types of IPE, including characteristics of success from the published literature and successful local IPE efforts, in order to contribute meaningfully to existing IPE activities or to develop new IPE activities. The program consists of three workshops. The opening workshop provides a broad overview of IPE, interprofessional teamwork, and UT Health San Antonio’s university-wide IPE efforts through LINC. Participants select one of three tracks at the conclusion of the opening workshop to further explore their interests. Tracks are offered with a focus on didactic IPE, clinical IPE, and co-curricular IPE, and each track consists of two workshops. In Fall 2020, 45 individuals participated in the inaugural LINC Faculty & Staff Development Program.
LINC Interprofessional Case Competition
Drawing inspiration from the CLARION case competition at the University of Minnesota, the LINC Co-Curricular IPE Initiative has developed a voluntary interprofessional case competition for first-year students at UT Health San Antonio. The inaugural competition was offered in Spring 2021 for interprofessional teams of highly motivated first-year students to apply IPE knowledge and skills. Teams were required to include 4 students from at least 3 different educational programs (e.g., Doctor of Dental Surgery [DDS], Doctor of Medicine [MD], Doctor of Philosophy in Translational Science [PhD], Master of Science in Respiratory Care, Bachelor of Science in Nursing [BSN]) representing a minimum of 2 schools at UT Health San Antonio. In phase I of the competition, teams submitted written proposals to reduce vaccine hesitancy in south central Texas, which were scored by a faculty panel of judges. Teams with the top scores were invited to phase II of the competition: oral presentations followed by Q&A with the judges. The summation of phase I and II scores determined the top 5 place finishers, as well as one honorable mention. Prize money totaling $5000 was awarded.
LINC Writers’ Workshop
Launching in Summer 2021, the inaugural LINC Writers’ Workshop will introduce faculty and staff to various publication opportunities for IPE projects; this includes commentaries, case reports, review articles, quality improvement articles, and hypothesis-driven research. Consensus guidance and writing strategies will be shared with participants as a roadmap to transform completed IPE projects into publications. The workshop will leverage blended learning strategies, with asynchronous learning complimented by live instruction and discussion, and is designed to be completed in 5 hours. If they choose, participants who complete the workshop will be paired with a mentor to serve as a resource during the publication development, submission, and peer review process.