Interprofessional Education: The Role of Dual Degree Programs at Emory University

Purpose : The increasing intricacy of healthcare delivery leads to greater interdependence among professions, prompting growing interest in interprofessional education (IPE). One longstanding model for IPE is dual degree programs. Literature describes the benefits of dual degree programs in medical education, but little is known about dual programs in physical therapist education. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the implementation, structure and outcomes of 2 dual degree programs in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Emory University.Description : In fall of 2005, the idea to expand education offerings to dual degree programs for DPT students at Emory University emanated from faculty discussions regarding projected areas of growth for the profession. Specifically, health policy/business and health promotion were identified as emerging areas of growth for physical therapists. The program development, institutional approval process and implementation for the DPT/MBA and the DPT/MPH dual degree programs took approximately 2 and 3 years, respectively. The first DPT student matriculated into the MBA program in 2007 (graduating in 2008) and the first DPT students matriculated into the MPH program in 2008 (graduating in 2009). The MBA and MPH programs are both 1 year in length and are completed during the studentsÕ 3rd year before their final 3 semesters in the DPT program. We strategically placed the MBA and MPH programs so that students would enter their dual program having some background in PT (including some clinical experience), but before completion of the PT program, so they could also integrate knowledge gained during their dual program into their final 3 semesters with the DPT program (including their final long term affiliation). Dual degree studentsÕ last affiliation may be tied to their MPH or MBA degree (e.g. MPH students may affiliate with a hospital on a Native American reservation within the United States Public Health Service). We believe our structure facilitates the optimal Òcross-pollinationÓ between the 2 programs.Summary of Use : Outcomes of the dual degree programs include: 1) influence on students applying and matriculating into our DPT program, 2) number of DPT students completing the dual degree programs, 3) additional exit interview items for dual degree students, and 4) surveys of dual degree alumni. Results from 8 alumni show that 6/8 currently use their dual degree professionally and all 8 indicate the MPH or MBA positively impacts their career, including 29% financially, 71% in career advancement, and 86% in increasing their marketability.Importance to Members: The World Health Organization (WHO) supports IPE as a means of enabling effective collaborations to improve health outcomes. By offering physical therapist students additional degrees in other professional fields, we can ensure that these students will be particularly well positioned to lead our profession in the increasingly integrated landscape of the healthcare arena.

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  • Control #: 2015424
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Sara Pullen, Zoher Kapasi, Marie A. Johanson
  • Keywords: interprofessional education

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