MCPHS Provost Caroline Zeind and Dr. Robin Harvan
University News | 4/23/2024

‘Together is Better’: MCPHS Featured at National Meeting for Interprofessional Healthcare

By Jennifer Persons

Caroline Zeind, PharmD, RPh, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, with Robin Harvan, EdD, EdM, (H)FNAP, FIAMSE, FACE, Professor of Health Sciences, at the National Academies of Practice

MCPHS Provost Caroline Zeind and Dr. Robin Harvan
Caroline Zeind, PharmD, RPh, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, with Robin Harvan, EdD, EdM, (H)FNAP, FIAMSE, FACE, Professor of Health Sciences, at the National Academies of Practice

Dr. Robin Harvan delivered the keynote address and Provost Caroline Zeind was honored at the National Academies of Practice’s annual gathering.

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) showcased its leadership in interprofessional practice and education at the National Academies of Practice (NAP) Meeting and Forum, an annual gathering of healthcare professionals from across the country. Professor of Health Sciences Dr. Robin Harvan delivered the keynote address at the event, held in Jacksonville, Fla.

“I was honored and humbled to open the conference, speaking on the theme of this year’s event,” said Harvan, EdD, EdM, (H)FNAP, FIAMSE, FACE. The speech, “Pioneering Pathways to Unite the Health Professionals for Strategic Impact in Education and Practice,” outlined how Dr. Harvan has designed and implemented models to promote interprofessional practice and education (IPE) for both students and working healthcare professionals across the country.

“The address laid the foundation for the conference so attendees could understand and appreciate the early history of IPE, where it came from, and how we continue this journey,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Caroline Zeind who attended the event.

The NAP is an alliance of professionals from 16 areas of practice dedicated to transforming healthcare through collaboration. It was incorporated in 1981 to address the need for more cooperation between providers. Around the same time, Dr. Harvan noticed a similar issue working as a registered clinical laboratory scientist in a hospital.

“I realized how fragmented the healthcare system was, with different departments not being able to communicate about patient care,” she explained. “I feared healthcare was becoming dehumanized. I chose to continue my education and earn a master’s and a doctorate in education, focusing on interprofessional education to improve the ethical, social, and organizational systems in healthcare to improve patient experience and health outcomes.”

Dr. Harvan has spent her career developing healthcare education programs grounded in team-based care. She has worked at several institutions, from Rutgers University to the University of Colorado, the Department of Defense, and more, developing IPE frameworks and then implementing them in classrooms and clinical settings.

“When I first meet students, I ask them why they want to work in healthcare. Most of them say they want to help people,” she said. “I always tell them you can’t do it alone. While they’re here [at MCPHS], they will learn how to work collaboratively across the healthcare spectrum because together is better.”

In 2020, Dr. Harvan was inducted as an Honorary Distinguished Fellow of the NAP to recognize her decades of work creating a framework for collaborative practice.

“She is a pioneer in this field, and I am proud to have her leadership at MCPHS,” said Provost Zeind. “Her speech [at the NAP] brought recognition to our University and highlighted our dedication to IPE.”

At this year’s event, the NAP inducted Provost Zeind as a Distinguished Fellow. Two other members of the MCPHS faculty received the honor last year: Cheryl Babin, PT, DHS, MHA, FNAP, Associate Director of Clinical Education and Associate Professor in the School of Physical Therapy; and Douglas Simmons, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Professor and program director in the School of Occupational Therapy.

“It was a special honor,” said Provost Zeind. “The entire conference was a very stimulating experience, and it validated for me that we are at the forefront of IPE.”

During her keynote speech, Dr. Harvan told an audience of more than 650 people about the ways MCPHS has unified the healthcare professions. First, MCPHS is one of few dedicated healthcare universities with its own School of Arts and Sciences. Students in it build a foundation in teamwork and collaboration while they explore their areas of interest.

Second, the master’s, doctoral, and continuing education programs at MCPHS are interprofessional by design, and the University ensures students who complete clinical rotations or research at other healthcare institutions receive an interprofessional experience there as well.

Third, MCPHS has established partnerships with Harvard University, Tufts University, the Colleges of the Fenway, and others to further expand opportunities for students to interact with other fields.

Finally, but most importantly, the Centers for Excellence, though they each have their specialized focuses, are all interprofessional, involving Community members from across all 14 schools, including all three campuses and online.

“Our efforts, especially our Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, are inclusive of every program, and that makes us very unique,” said Provost Zeind. “We are striving to deliver the highest standards of IPE for our students, faculty, and Community.”