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.

LINC Interprofessional Education Plans

LINC is an infrastructure-focused Quality Enhancement Plan intended to advance UT Health San Antonio’s Strategic Vision by enhancing our capacity for interprofessional education (IPE). Key measures of success include increasing student knowledge and skills related to IPE, demonstrating schools’ and programs’ adoption of IPE as a strategic priority through increased activities integrated into programs’ curricula, and increasing opportunities for student IPE experiences across the institution.

To integrate IPE into programs’ curricula, and with support from UT Health San Antonio’s Vice President for Academic, Faculty & Student Affairs (VP AFSA) and Deans Council, the LINC Academic Affairs Council spearheads the annual development, approval and study of 12 IPE Plans in accordance with national consensus guidelines from the Health Professions Accreditors Collaborative. IPE Plans include universal elements shared by all students at UT Health San Antonio, such as foundational learning experiences and student learning outcomes measures, as well as unique elements customized to meet targeted needs identified within specific schools/programs.

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. Conceived and supported by the LINC Academic Affairs Council and housed within the LINC Faculty Council’s Didactic IPE Initiative, 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. To date, over 2000 students have completed the LINC Common IPE Experience.

LINC Core IPE Measurement Plan

The LINC Core IPE Measurement Plan, developed by the LINC Assessment Council with support from the LINC Academic Affairs Council, provides the foundation for all IPE-focused student learning outcomes measurement at UT Health San Antonio. Our approach consists of four tools administered at three timepoints in a student’s academic career. In accordance with the Institute of Medicine’s Interprofessional Learning Continuum Model, these valid and reliable tools measure changes in students’ reactions, attitudes/perceptions, skills and behavior related to IPE and teamwork. Aggregate baseline data collected during academic year 2020-2021 will be published in January 2022.

LINC IPE Faculty & Staff Development Program

Annually in the fall, the LINC Office invites UT Health San Antonio employees 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, to participate in a series of workshops called the LINC IPE Faculty & Staff Development Program. An introductory workshop, IPE 101: Overview & Introduction, provides a broad overview of IPE, interprofessional teamwork and UT Health San Antonio’s university-wide IPE efforts through LINC. Participants will attend a second workshop, Getting Started with Different Types of IPE, that will introduce participants to three different types of IPE at UT Health San Antonio: didactic, co-curricular, and clinical IPE. Taught by leaders of LINC Faculty Council Initiatives, participants will derive lessons learned from university-wide IPE exemplars in each of these areas.

LINC Seed Grant Program

Annually, the LINC Faculty Council invites applications from UT Health San Antonio faculty and staff 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 an innovative 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 expected. To date, $100,509 has been awarded for 22 projects involving 80 investigators and collaborators.

Deadlines associated with the 2023 LINC Seed Grant Program are forthcoming, and will be published here by September 1, 2022. Detailed instructions regarding application processes will be described.

LINC Writers’ Workshop

Launched in January 2022 as a pilot for past LINC seed grant awardees, the inaugural LINC Writers’ Workshop introduces participants to various publication opportunities for IPE projects; this includes commentaries, case reports, systematic reviews, scoping reviews, 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 peer-reviewed publications. The workshop leverages blended learning strategies, with asynchronous learning complimented by live instruction. Nationally recognized experts in IPE lead a collaborative writing workshop and IPE journal editors will provide guidance and advice during a moderated panel discussion. 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.

LINC Interprofessional Case Competition

Every spring semester, the LINC Faculty Council’s Co-Curricular IPE Initiative leads a voluntary interprofessional case competition for students at UT Health San Antonio that serves as a qualifying event for the national CLARION case competition hosted by the University of Minnesota. UT Health San Antonio’s inaugural competition was offered in Spring 2021 for interprofessional teams of highly motivated first-year students to apply IPE knowledge and skills gained through the LINC Common IPE Experience to develop an innovative population health-focused interprofessional intervention to reduce vaccine hesitancy in south central Texas.

Teams are 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 submit written proposals that are scored by a faculty panel of judges. Teams with the top scores are invited to phase II of the competition: oral presentations followed by Q&A with the judges. The summation of phase I and II scores determines the top 5 place finishers and prize money totaling $5000 is distributed. The LINC Office sponsors the winning team’s registration and participation in the national competition the following year.

LINC IPE Symposium

Led by the LINC Student Council with support from the LINC Faculty Council, the inaugural LINC IPE Symposium was held April 18-20, 2022. This event featured virtual and live sessions, including a keynote speaker, panel discussions, IPE poster presentations, and IPE activities to augment the professional development of students, faculty and staff. The 2022 keynote speaker was Dr. Lucinda L. Maine, PhD, RPh, current chair of Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC).

Additionally, finalists from the 2022 LINC Interprofessional Case Competition provided a brief description of their presentations before the winners were announced.

If you registered and participated in the inaugural symposium and have yet to pick up your free t-shirt, please contact Meagan Rockne at rockne@uthscsa.edu.