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MCPHS Students in the IPE Book club

Interprofessional Education Book Club: A Strategy To Teach Cultural Sensitivity in Healthcare

  • The IPE Book Club Experience is just one of many curricular and extracurricular activities emphasizing interprofessional practice and education at MCPHS.

    With students in more than 100 programs studying alongside one another, MCPHS engages in interprofessional education (IPE) every day.

    Medical experts know that collaboration in healthcare is essential to quality care and positive health outcomes. Treating the whole patient requires specialists across different fields to share knowledge, form a team, and work together. Collaboration and interdisciplinary learning is a key part of the MCPHS experience. For example, nursing students learn from pharmacy students and vice versa.

    With support from the Provost Office⁠—especially Associate Provost Worcester/Manchester and Professor of Pharmacy Practice Anna Morin, PharmD⁠—and the newly established Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education (CIPE), the Worcester/Manchester IPE Working Group successfully completed the IPE Book Club in the spring 2022 semester.

    "We were able to include students from all three campuses to ensure accreditation compliance and held the activity virtually to meet this need," says Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Co-Chair of the Worcester/Manchester IPE Working Group Karen Britt, DNP, RN, MEDSURG-BC, CNE.

    About the IPE Book Club

    The IPE Book Club is held each year in April during National Interprofessional Healthcare Month and the activity focuses on the need for cultural sensitivity in healthcare. Students are required to attend and are assigned to interprofessional groups to discuss guided questions pertaining to a book written by Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. In the past, the book club has been run in both synchronous and asynchronous formats.

    The 2022 spring semester IPE Book Club included 656 students from the following programs: Acupuncture, Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, and Physician Assistant Studies. It also included 27 faculty members representing all participating programs and campuses as well as optometry working group members who moderated the discussion boards. Pharmacy students completed multiple assignments before and after the activity. A survey was administered at the end to collect student feedback and self-assessment data.


    To help share their knowledge about the IPE Book Club, seven MCPHS faculty members worked on a publication, "Fostering cultural sensitivity amongst students of pharmacy through an interprofessional book club activity," which was published in Currents of Pharmacy Teaching & Learning in March 2022.

    The publication highlighted that the majority of student participants agreed or strongly agreed that they were better prepared for culturally-diverse patient interactions after the IPE Book Club experience. Students also believed that the IPE Book Club allowed for interprofessional learning and that the activity should continue for future students.

    The paper recommended the book club activity as an effective strategy for delivering content related to cultural sensitivity in an interprofessional format. The activity model can be used to support interactions with multiple professions in different schools within the same university or with multiple professions located at different universities/institutions.

    The authors include:

    • Professor of Pharmacy Practice Karyn M Sullivan, PharmD, MPH
    • Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Co-Chair of the Worcester/Manchester IPE Working Group Amanda Morrill, PharmD, BCPS
    • Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Co-Chair of the Worcester/Manchester IPE Working Group Karen Britt, DNP, RN, MEDSURG BC, CNE
    • Associate Director of Clinical Education and Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Co-Chair of the Worcester/Manchester IPE Working Group Cheryl Babin, PT, DHS, MHA, CAGS
    • Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice Cheryl Abel, PharmD
    • Academic Assistant in the School of Pharmacy Karen Lenehan
    • Assistant Dean of Interprofessional Education, Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Co-Chair of the Worcester/Manchester IPE Working Group Kaelen Dunican, PharmD

    Learn more about the role of IPE in preparing our future healthcare leaders.