Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Carole Ivey

Second Advisor

Alan Dow

Third Advisor

Mary Martinasek

Fourth Advisor

Sheryl Finucane


Interprofessional education (IPE) is an educational approach of increasing popularity in professional schools for the preparation of a collaborative ready healthcare workforce. The accrediting bodies of professional education programs in occupational therapy (OT), physician assistant (PA), and physical therapy (PT) have incorporated standards for outcomes addressing IPE. Although they have endorsed the Health Professions Accreditors Collaborative (HPAC) consensus document on quality IPE, we do not have a contemporary snapshot of the IPE environments in the curriculum of their accredited programs. This dissertation, a collection of three distinct inquiries, has two aims: first, to provide a description of IPE as it currently exists in the curricular environments of all accredited entry-level programs of study leading to professional degrees in OT, PA, and PT; and second, to identify similarities and differences in the IPE environments among the three programs of study. This fills a knowledge gap for each profession on the contemporary IPE environments in the curriculum of their accredited programs and provides a baseline for planning quality IPE as defined by the HPAC consensus document endorsed by OT, PA, and PT accreditors.

Chapter two explored the current IPE environment in entry-level doctoral-degree and master’s-degree occupational therapy programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) in the United States.

Chapter three surveyed all entry-level master’s programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) on the current environment of IPE within the curriculum.

Chapter four investigated the current environments in all entry-level physical therapist programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) in the United States.

In chapter five the data sets were combined and analyzed for similarities and differences among the three professions.

Although no statistically significant differences existed in our findings, our data suggests that the practice of IPE varies. Results tended to vary by institution more than profession. This data did demonstrate a strong presence of IPE in the curriculum and helped to highlight areas for improvement. Faculty workload, course schedules, and funding continue to be a hinderance in the development and sustainability for IPE. Future research should include examination of the relationship between program leadership and institutional leadership in developing, implementing, and sustaining an IPE plan; faculty/preceptor development and assessment in delivering IPE; mapping learning outcomes and learner assessment; and tracking student acquisition of IPE competencies.


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