pillar is the use of the ICF framework as a common language among all professionals at the school in the management of patient care. According to Snyman and de Villiers, using the ICF Framework in the clinical care setting gives students and faculty a unified structure with which to conduct a holistic assessment of the patient. Under each of the four topic areas (body functions and structures, activities, participation, and environmental factors) are five to nine subdivisions that cover a wide range of health-related issues, including mental function, the cardiovascular system, mobility, self-care, support and relationships, and attitudes. As Snyman said, given the expansive list of assessment items in the framework, no one profession could ever manage the full range of needs identified in a managed care plan. And he added that, in using the framework, students and faculty realize they cannot manage the care of a patient alone and begin the process of working together.
The third pillar is health education and harmonization, which requires leadership from the top as well as learners to make the necessary changes. According to de Villiers, this pillar is designed to equip faculty and community preceptors with interprofessional skills and to develop strategies that bring them together to work collaboratively.
Elizabeth Speakman, Ed.D., R.N.
Thomas Jefferson University
According to Elizabeth Speakman, co-director at the Jefferson InterProfessional Education Center, the Health Mentors Program at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia has been available to students as long as the university’s InterProfessional Education Center has been in existence. This program involves roughly 250 health mentors and roughly 1,300 students from the Jefferson Medical College and the schools of nursing, pharmacy, and health professions, the last of which includes occupational therapy, physical therapy, and couples and family therapy. Each team is made up of students from these different health disciplines, and over the course of 2 years, the students in the teams learn directly from their health mentors—who are patients in the community—about these individuals’ health status and living conditions. Speakman said that the work of the students on a team culminates in the fourth and final semester with a visit to their mentor’s home in order to experience the conditions and limitations under which their mentor lives.
Following this experience, students are required to write reflective papers. In those papers, Speakman said, students often cite a better understanding of the other health disciplines for their in-depth understanding of the community and the environment in which their patient lives; occupational therapy is often singled out for particular respect because they un-