The event featured speakers from Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University, and more. Diverse speakers, panel discussions, and interactive case studies brought a dynamic approach to integrating interprofessional education in a practical and clinical setting.
Christine Riedy, PhD, MPH, chair and associate professor of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, explained that this summit was the result of feedback from the Initiative to Integrate Oral Health and Medicine’s recent Leadership Forum. “We’ve had speakers talk about putting the mouth back into the body, speakers from the insurance industry, health care industry, and educators… but something that was missing was the nitty-gritty of inter-professional practice and integrating oral health into clinical practice, particularly for programs that train providers, residency programs, and such,” said Riedy.
Keynote speaker, Michaela Kerrissey, PhD, MS, is an assistant professor of Management in the department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and urged attendees to view integrated care as a mindset, rather than a model. “Often times, we get so caught up in thinking about a particular model of delivering services,” she said. “Does it work? What are the core elements? We lose sight of what all of these models have in common, that at their core they are asking people and organizations to work in fundamentally new ways to deliver health services."
Kerrissey added, “Usually in medicine, the path forward is clear. We make it as clear as possible. We want employees who can follow the scripts. We want to derive value. We want to learn before we do… But I want you to consider for a moment an alternative way of thinking. If we don’t know the right path forward for integrated care at all times, we might need to do a bit more innovation and experimentation. There may not be a script that can immediately be followed. We may have to wait to derive value later. We might have to learn from doing, and variance may become something that is a rich tool for learning.”
Interprofessional Education to Practice included a panel discussion on systems-based approaches to making integration work effectively, as well as interactive case studies on how interprofessional education competencies are integrated into academic practice sites. Providing opportunities for attendees to collaborate and grow as a community of practice were among the objectives for this event.
Jane Barrow, executive director of the Initiative to Integrate Oral Health and Medicine and associate dean of Global and Community Health at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, sees this summit as a step in the right direction for oral health and primary care integration. “This summit brought together individuals who focus on clinical training, and it was really terrific to engage with them on how we move from interprofessional classroom education to interprofessional team-based care in a clinical setting,” she said. “The discussion was lively and provocative. We shared and learned a lot with each other and I am excited to move ahead with our community of practice and see what evolves.”