More than 40  Metropolitan State University of Denver professionals from across campus joined colleagues in person and virtually April 5 to launch into the 2nd Annual Interprofessional Education (IPE) Conference.  

Dr. Annjanette Alejano-Steele

“Interprofessional education is about sharing language and how different departments represent the complexity of the fields our students encounter. And I just love that we’re expanding this choir,” said A.J. Alejano-Steele, Ph.D., professor of Health Professions and co-chair of the University’s IPE committee.  

Conference sessions included collaborations between Nursing and Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences that showcased swallowing simulations, as well as an EMT training partnership with Denver Health that brought together the Department of Health Professions and Fire and Emergency Response Administration.  

“It’s exciting seeing people coming together to provide a better educational experience for our students,” said Sammy Chumacero, Health Career navigator with the Gina and Frank Day Health Institute at MSU Denver. “It validates the broad, interdisciplinary nature of things like (the Health Institute’s) Health Scholars programs.” 

At its essence, IPE can be understood as a pedagogical approach in which students and educators from two or more professional fields convene to learn from, with and about each other. And though the practice traces its roots back over two decades to the health field, it clearly has sparked interest across industries. 

Eric Olson, Ph.D., chair of the Rita and Navin Dimond Department of Hotel Management, was inspired to build upon the conference takeaways as a natural progression for scaling up the two courses recently launched by the School of Hospitality in the Metaverse.

Eric Olson

“We’ve already got some of the physical infrastructure in place; now, I’m excited for the possibility of expanding and partnering with other areas of the University to benefit our students’ learning experiences,” Olson said.  

IPE continues to be a growing national movement, Alejano-Steele said. And with the University’s Interprofessional Simulation and Skills Laboratory slated to come online this August, the workforce-development and teaching opportunities to make MSU Denver a nationally renowned leader in IPE excellence have never been greater.   

“At the end of the day, it’s about best preparing students,” Alejano-Steele added. “We don’t operate in silos out in the field, so why should we operate in silos inside the classroom?”  

For more information on IPE, email A.J. Alejano-Steele 

You can also request access with your MSU Denver account to the IPE SharePoint site for articles, examples and other resources on interprofessional education.