Facilitating Interprofessional Education through the Lens of Health Humanities.


Building upon current innovations in digital scholarship, this panel presentation explores how the humanities might facilitate meaningful intersections interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) in rehabilitation. Effective clinical reasoning emerges from a core foundation of communication between disciplines and requires the exploration of our shared common experiences regarding the human condition. A strong base of communication can lead to the development of a moral commons where values are shared about the meaning and goal of patient care amongst members of the interprofessional team. This session will illustrate how to integrate and facilitate the humanities into physical therapy curriculum using resources such as the Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation (JHR), an international peer-reviewed, digital publication, facilitating unique opportunities in IPE and IPCP. Emphasis of the natural common ground that humanities bring to IPE and practice will be highlighted including its role in shaping the professions. Finally, we will explore the link between professional behaviors and the introspection that humanities put on clinical science, using JHR as a resource. The panel of students and faculty will provide insight into the practical application of the humanities in the interprofessional healthcare environment.

Methods and/or Description of Project

The complexities of health care require working together as a cohesive team, not in silos but collaboratively in a non-threatening environment. The humanities provide a shared neutral platform, supporting the team as they come together to reflect on tough, value-laden issues. In the current healthcare environment, the ability to see situations from multiple frames of reference, deal with uncertainty, and engage in critical self-reflection is more important than ever. The humanities offer an opportunity to explore the shared experience of the interpersonal relationship common to all disciplines. Art and literature, music and poetry, all provide avenues to delve deeply together in our search for meaning in the face of disability and suffering. The challenge facing PT faculty is the identification of practical methods to integrate humanities into an already over-crowded curriculum. Resources are needed for content ideas and methods of developing course material that include strategies to infuse humanities into existing clinical and basic science courses. In this approach, humanities are viewed not as an addition that may take away from the curriculum, but as providing a methodology to more effectively integrate the art and science of patient care.
A handful of journals are currently devoted to humanities in medicine and nursing. Noticeably absent from this group is a focused publication representing rehabilitation sciences where team-based care has a long legacy and tradition. JHR was developed to help fill this void and create unique opportunities to facilitate IPE and IPCP. This discussion group will focus on identifying and discussing key elements in the role of the humanities to facilitate IPE and IPCP and gain a greater understanding of the human experience of disability and healing. JHR provides the platform for robust and sustainable collaboration around issues related to critical topics in health, humanities, disability studies, and interprofessional education.


Session attendees will have opportunities to consider strategies to infuse the humanities into existing courses in the curriculum, and provide their students with opportunities to develop scholarship in digital humanities. Examples offered through lecture and discussion can guide efforts to foster interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaborations for both faculty and students. Attendees will take away ideas for developing innovative intersections between clinician, students and patients to forge creative avenues for shared meaning making.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education

This session seeks to transform PT education by illustrating the roles of health humanities and JHR to deepen the connection between the science of rehabilitation and the art of patient care. The goal of this effort is to broaden the understanding of the concepts of humanities in rehabilitation research, education and practice and create a rich breeding ground for innovative ideas to foster collaboration between the academician, clinician, patient and communities we serve.


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Course Objectives

1. Identify the basic concepts, theory and research underlying the integration of humanities in rehabilitation science.
2. Explain how the use of humanities can facilitate the development of meta-cognitive skills across the continuum of professional development.
3. Appreciate the purpose of, and evolution of a JHR as an interdisciplinary forum and data base for written narratives about the lived experiences of major stakeholders in rehabilitation.
4. Identify opportunities for collaborative scholarship between academics, researchers, clinicians, patients, and families through JHR.
5. Recognize opportunities for interprofessional education to promote clinical reasoning through unique collaborations with professions outside rehabilitation science

Instructional Methods

Panel presenters will establish the foundation of the role of health humanities in PT education and provide the history and publication model of JHR. Small-group discussions facilitated by the speakers will be used to explore methods other programs are currently using to integrate humanities in their curricula. Returning to the large-group, sharing of small group findings will be summarized followed by facilitated large-group discussion of how humanities skills and scholarship can be fostered.

Tentative Outline/Schedule

50 minutes: Panel Presentation (Faculty and Student)
a. Providing Context: History and evolution of health humanities
b. Introduction to Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation (JHR): brief history and review of publication model – international, on-line, open access with no author or submission fees
c. Review innovative interdisciplinary educational opportunities for professional rehabilitation science students on JHR staff
d. Discussion of patient and family-centered contributions to expand perspective and scope of discussions impacting the rehabilitation process
e. Description of interdisciplinary collaboration and engagement across a liberal arts campus – reaching beyond rehabilitation professionals
f. Illustrate the strategies for using humanities as a lens to provide deeper insight and understanding of established educational content across the curricula
g. Review the importance of narrative reasoning to gain insight into the human experience of disability and healing and provide examples of integration in graduate and residency programs.

20 minutes: Small-group discussions
Facilitator led small group discussions of challenges, solutions, and outcomes in
integrating humanities into a PT curriculum.

20 minutes: Large-group summary of small-group results, and take home suggestions
Opportunities to share information and consider options to take home.

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  • Control #: 2748137
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2017
  • Authors: Dr. Sarah Blanton, Dr. Nancy Kirsch, Bruce greenfield, Emma Goldberg, Zoher Kapasi, Gail Jensen
  • Keywords:

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